Microsatellite instability (MSI) in haematopoietic malignancies has been controversial. Particularly in non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the data published to date lack unity. Using a unique fluorescent technique, we found MSI in eight (14%) tumours in a panel of 59 carefully selected non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients. Our fluorescent technique also reveals two qualitatively distinct modes of MSI, i.e. Type A and Type B. Based on our previous studies using DNA mismatch repair (MMR) gene-knock out animals, we have concluded that Type A MSI is a direct consequence of defective MMR. MSI observed in non-Hodgkin lymphomas was uniformly Type A, which implies that MMR deficiency occurs in this malignancy. Intriguingly, in non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients treated by CHOP/VEPA-based therapies, response to chemotherapy was significantly worse in those with microsatellite-unstable tumours (p = 0.027). As a consequence, the patient outcomes at 1 year after treatment were significantly less favourable in this population (p = 0.046), although the survival difference was not statistically confirmed in a longer term. These findings suggest that in some non-Hodgkin lymphomas MMR deficiency may lead to drug resistance in tumour cells and, consequently, to poor patient outcomes. In non-Hodgkin lymphoma, MSI may be a potential biomarker that predicts the tumour response against chemotherapy.
!!!All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes