Mucinous carcinoma of the colon: Correlation of loss of mismatch repair enzymes with clinicopathologic features and survival

Sanjay Kakar, Saime Aksoy, Lawrence J. Burgart, Thomas C. Smyrk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


Colorectal carcinoma with microsatellite instability (MSI-H) has a characteristic clinicopathologic profile, typically forming right-sided, lymphocyte-rich tumors that are often mucinous. Mucinous histology in general has been linked to adverse prognosis in some studies, but not in others. MSI-H carcinoma, in contrast, has a better prognosis than microsatellite stable carcinoma in most studies. We assessed the relationship between MSI status, clinicopathologic features and outcome for 248 consecutive patients with resected mucinous carcinoma. All cases were reviewed to confirm mucinous histology. Immunohistochemical stains for DNA mismatch repair enzymes hMLH1, hMSH2 and hMSH6 were performed on a representative block from each case. Tumors lacking expression of a mismatch repair enzyme were designated MSI-H; all others were classified as microsatellite stable. Age, sex, tumor size, site, grade, stage, growth pattern, Crohn's-like reaction, vascular invasion and number of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes were evaluated without knowledge of MSI status or patient outcome. 72 (29.3%) mucinous carcinomas were MSI-H. Compared to microsatellite stable mucinous cancers, they were more likely to be right-sided (83.3 vs 48.6%, P< 0.001), have a Crohn's-like reaction (65.7 vs 29.8%, P<0.001) and have many tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (72.2 vs 20.8%, P<0.001). MSI-H mucinous cancers presented more often as localized disease (66.7 vs 38.1%, P<0.001) and less often with lymph node (26.4 vs 44.9%) or distant (4.2 vs 16.5%) metastases. In univariate analysis, MSI had a favorable effect on age-adjusted survival (hazard ratio 0.597, P= 0.02). In multivariate analysis, age, grade, Crohn's-like reaction and stage were independent predictors of survival, but MSI status was not. In conclusion, MSI-H mucinous carcinomas are right-sided, low-stage tumors with Crohn's-like reaction and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. The outcome for MSI-H mucinous carcinoma is better than that of microsatellite-stable mucinous carcinoma, but MSI status is not an independent predictor of survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)696-700
Number of pages5
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • Colon
  • MSI
  • Mismatch repair
  • Mucinous carcinoma
  • Rectum
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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