Somatic Sequencing and Microsatellite Instability Results From Mismatch Repair-deficient Endometrial Carcinoma Patients Without Lynch Syndrome ("Lynch-like" tumors): Implications for Heritable Cancer Screening, Molecular Prognostication, and Immunotherapeutic Vulnerability

Ngome L. Makia, Martha Thomas, Kari L. Ring, Christopher A. Moskaluk, Anne M. Mills*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Immunostaining of endometrial carcinomas for mismatch repair (MMR) protein loss is standard-of-care for Lynch syndrome screening, but also identifies MMR-deficient tumors without germline pathogenic variants. While the majority show MLH1 hypermethylation (MLH1hm), somatic MMR pathogenic variants are increasingly recognized drivers of immunohistochemistry-germline discordance. Because MMR abnormalities with both germline and somatic origins have prognostic significance and impart susceptibility to immune checkpoint inhibitors, it is important to understand how frequently tumors with MMR immunohistochemical loss and normal germline testing ("Lynch-like" tumors) have underlying somatic MMR pathogenic variants. Somatic tumor sequencing±microsatellite instability (MSI) testing was performed on 18 endometrial cancers with MMR immunohistochemical loss but negative MMR germline results and negative MLH1hm where relevant. Tumor sequencing and MSI testing were successful in 94%. Where successful, 80% were MSI-high and 94% had a molecular correlate for the initial immunohistochemical interpretation. The single case without an identified somatic pathogenic variant was MSI-low and initially showed loss of MSH6 by immunohistochemistry but with extremely limited internal control staining. On review, MSH6 immunohistochemistry was reclassified as equivocal, and repeat staining revealed improved control expression with intact MSH6. Following reclassification of this case, 100% tumors with MMR deficiency by immunohistochemistry had at least 1 confirmed somatic MMR pathogenic variant, and 86% were MSI-high. These results demonstrate that when correctly interpreted immunohistochemistry is a strong surrogate for somatic MMR pathogenic variants and support its use as the frontline MMR biomarker in endometrial cancer for heritable screening, molecular prognostic classification, and immunotherapeutic biomarker testing purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)878-888
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Volume47
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • endometrial carcinoma
  • immunotherapy
  • microsatellite instability
  • mismatch repair

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