Author(s): Choi MR, Gwak M, Yoo NJ, Lee SH
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Apoptosis inactivation and intratumoral heterogeneity (ITH) are common features of cancers, including colorectal cancer (CRC). Inactivation of apoptosis prolongs cancer cell survival, and ITH may contribute to CRC progression. AIM: To examine the presence and extent of mutational ITH in the pro-apoptotic genes APAF1, BAX, and FLASH and the association of mutational ITH with pathologic parameters of CRC. METHODS: The ITH of mutations in the mononucleotide repeats of APAF1, BAX and FLASH in different tumors were analyzed in 16 cases of CRC with high microsatellite instability (MSI-H) and 41 cases of CRC with stable MSI/low MSI (MSS/MSI-L) by single-strand conformation polymorphism and DNA sequencing analyses. RESULTS: Frameshift mutations of APAF1, BAX, and FLASH were identified in 19, 31, and 6 \% of CRC with MSI-H, respectively, but also in cases of CRC with MSS/MSI-L. All but one CRC with a mutation (8/9) harbored regional ITH of the APAF1, BAX and FLASH frameshift mutations. ITH, however, was not associated with histopathologic features of CRC with MSI-H, suggesting that ITH might not be related to development of the MSI-H phenotype itself, but rather to disease progression. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that the APAF1, BAX, and FLASH genes not only harbor frameshift mutations but also demonstrate mutational ITH, which together might play a role in the tumorigenesis of CRC with MSI-H by affecting the apoptosis of cancer cells. Our data also suggest that multiregional mutation analysis is needed for a better evaluation of the mutation status in CRC.
This article was published in Dig Dis Sci
and referenced in Journal of Computer Science & Systems Biology