Discordant Staining Patterns and Microsatellite Results in Tumors of MSH6 Pathogenic Variant Carriers

Anne Sophie van der Werf-'t Lam, Diantha Terlouw, Carli M. Tops, Merel S. van Kan, Liselotte P. van Hest, Hans J.P. Gille, Floor A.M. Duijkers, Anja Wagner, Ellis L. Eikenboom, Tom G.W. Letteboer, Mirjam M. de Jong, Sanne W. Bajwa-Ten Broeke, Fonnet E. Bleeker, Encarna B. Gomez Garcia, Niels de Wind, J. Tom van Wezel, Hans Morreau, Manon Suerink, Maartje Nielsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Diagnosis of Lynch syndrome (LS) caused by a pathogenic germline MSH6 variant may be complicated by discordant immunohistochemistry (IHC) and/or by a microsatellite stable (MSS) phenotype. This study aimed to identify the various causes of the discordant phenotypes of colorectal cancer (CRC) and endometrial cancer (EC) in MSH6-associated LS. Data were collected from Dutch family cancer clinics. Carriers of a (likely) pathogenic MSH6 variant diagnosed with CRC or EC were categorized based on an microsatellite instability (MSI)/IHC test outcome that might fail to result in a diagnosis of LS (eg, retained staining of all 4 mismatch repair proteins, with or without an MSS phenotype, and other staining patterns). When tumor tissue was available, MSI and/or IHC were repeated. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) was performed in cases with discordant staining patterns. Data were obtained from 360 families with 1763 (obligate) carriers. MSH6 variant carriers with CRC or EC (n = 590) were included, consisting of 418 CRCs and 232 ECs. Discordant staining was reported in 77 cases (36% of MSI/IHC results). Twelve patients gave informed consent for further analysis of tumor material. Upon revision, 2 out of 3 MSI/IHC cases were found to be concordant with the MSH6 variant, and NGS showed that 4 discordant IHC results were sporadic rather than LS-associated tumors. In 1 case, somatic events explained the discordant phenotype. The use of reflex IHC mismatch repair testing, the current standard in most Western countries, may lead to the misdiagnosis of germline MSH6 variant carriers. The pathologist should point out that further diagnostics for inheritable colon cancer, including LS, should be considered in case of a strong positive family history. Germline DNA analysis of the mismatch repair genes, preferably as part of a larger gene panel, should therefore be considered in potential LS patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100240
Pages (from-to)100240
Number of pages1
JournalModern pathology : an official journal of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, Inc
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

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