Clinicopathologic comparison of lynch syndrome-associated and lynch-like endometrial carcinomas identified on universal screening using mismatch repair protein immunohistochemistry

Anne M. Mills*, Emily A. Sloan, Martha Thomas, Susan C. Modesitt, Mark H. Stoler, Kristen A. Atkins, Christopher A. Moskaluk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Expanded testing for Lynch syndrome (LS) is increasingly recommended for patients with endometrial carcinomas, and immunohistochemistry (IHC) for tumor loss of mismatch-repair (MMR) protein expression is the most common primary screen. This has led to the recognition of MMRIHC- deficient cases without identifiable mutations on directed germline sequencing. The clinical implications of such "Lynchlike" (LL) cancers are unclear. We here report the clinicopathologic features of putative familial endometrial carcinoma identified on universal MMR-IHC screening with attention to cases with discordant IHC and germline results. The files of the University of Virginia Pathology Department were retrospectively searched for all MMR-deficient endometrial carcinomas identified on screening. Cases were categorized as likely sporadic (MLH1/PMS2 loss, evidence of MLH1 promoter hypermethylation) or putative LS (PLS) (loss of MSH2/MSH6, MSH6, or PMS2). PLS cases were further subdivided into LS and LL groups on the basis of the presence or absence of a confirmatory mutation by germline testing, and the clinicopathologic features of these cases were compared. A deficiency of Z1 MMR protein was observed in 31.4% (66/210) of endometrial carcinomas, including 26 PLS cases, 15 of which had germline testing. Directed germline sequencing confirmed LS in 46.7% (7/15); the remaining cases were classified as LL. High-grade and/or biphasic morphology was seen in 42.9% (3/7) of LS and 62.5% (5/8) of LL cases; the remaining cases showed low-grade, conventional endometrioid morphology. High level microsatellite instability was observed in 71.4% (5/7) of LL cases. The majority of cases from both groups (LS: 85.7% [6/7]; LL: 87.5% [7/8]) were low-stage (T1a/T1b). Endometrial carcinoma was the presenting malignancy in 85.7% (6/7) of LS patients and 87.5% (7/8) of LL patients. Family history was suggestive of LS in 28.5% (2/7) of LS patients and 12.5% (1/8) of LL patients. Screening algorithms based on age and cancer history would have failed to identify LS patients in 57.1% (4/7) of cases. Although universal MMR-IHC identifies endometrial carcinoma patients with LS who would have been missed using targeted screening algorithms, it also identifies cancers with discordant IHC and germline results for which the somatic versus germline origin of the MMR defect is unclear. Further study of this LL group is required before drawing definitive conclusions about their familial cancer risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-165
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Endometrial carcinoma
  • Lynch syndrome
  • Lynch-like syndrome
  • Microsatellite instability
  • Mismatch-repair immunohistochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Clinicopathologic comparison of lynch syndrome-associated and lynch-like endometrial carcinomas identified on universal screening using mismatch repair protein immunohistochemistry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this