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Chromosomal Instability in BRAF Mutant, Microsatellite Stable Colorectal Cancers

Public Library of Science
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0047483
  • Research Article
  • Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cytogenetics
  • Cytogenetic Analysis
  • Epigenetics
  • Dna Modification
  • Human Genetics
  • Chromosomal Disorders
  • Aneuploidy
  • Chromosomal Deletions And Duplications
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Gene Regulation
  • Cancer Genetics
  • Gene Function
  • Genetic Mutation
  • Genetics Of Disease
  • Genomics
  • Chromosome Biology
  • Chromosome Structure And Function
  • Medicine
  • Gastroenterology And Hepatology
  • Colon
  • Gastrointestinal Cancers
  • Oncology
  • Basic Cancer Research
  • Metastasis
  • Cancers And Neoplasms
  • Gastrointestinal Tumors
  • Colonic Polyps
  • Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors


The BRAF oncogene is mutated in 15% of sporadic colorectal cancers. Approximately half of these BRAF mutant cancers demonstrate frequent frameshift mutations termed microsatellite instability (MSI), but are diploid and chromosomally stable. BRAF wild type cancers are typically microsatellite stable (MSS) and instead acquire chromosomal instability (CIN). In these cancers, CIN is associated with a poor outcome. BRAF mutant cancers that are MSS, typically present at an advanced stage and have a particularly poor prognosis. We have previously demonstrated clinical and molecular similarities between MSS cancers with or without a BRAF mutation, and therefore hypothesised that CIN may also be frequent in BRAF mutant/MSS cancers. BRAF mutant/MSS (n = 60), and BRAF wild type/MSS CRCs (n = 90) were investigated for CIN using loss of heterozygosity analysis over twelve loci encompassing chromosomal regions 5q, 8p, 17p and 18q. CIN was frequent in BRAF mutant/MSS cancers (41/57, 72%), which was comparable to the rate found in BRAF wild type/MSS cancers (74/90, 82%). The greatest loss in BRAF mutant/MSS cancers occurred at 8p (26/44, 59%), and the least at 5q (19/49, 39%). CIN in BRAF mutant/MSS cancers correlated with advanced stage (AJCC III/IV: 15/17, 88%; p = 0.02); showed high rates of co-occurrence with the CpG Island Methylator Phenotype (17/23, 74%); and CIN at 18q and 8p associated with worse survival (p = 0.02, p<0.05). This study demonstrates that CIN commonly occurs in advanced BRAF mutant/MSS colorectal cancers where it may contribute to poorer survival, and further highlights molecular similarities occurring between these and BRAF wild type cancers.

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