In one third of colorectal cancer patients, tumours occur in the rectum. Unique aetiologies may underlie the increased carcinogenesis in this region of the colorectum. Microsatellite instability (MSI) was analysed in specimens obtained from 121 colorectal carcinoma patients, using five dinucleotide markers and a new fluorescent system. The incidence of microsatellite alterations in the proximal colon, the distal colon and the rectum was 44.4% (16/36), 37.2% (16/43) and 23.8% (10/42), respectively. Patterns of microsatellite alterations could be classified into two subtypes, one showing relatively small changes within 6 bases (type A) and the other exhibiting drastic changes over 8 bases (type B). All the changes observed in tumours in the rectum were type A, and no type B mutation was noted. There was a close correlation between type B mutations and high-frequency MSI (≥2 markers), MSI-H, and between type A mutations and low-frequency MSI (1 marker), MSI-L. The type B/MSI-H phenotype significantly correlated with the proximal localisation of tumours. In the rectum, there was no tumour with the type B/MSI-H phenotype. These findings suggest that cancers occurring in the colon and the rectum have a differential molecular background for carcinogenesis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research