Upper tract urothelial carcinomas: Frequency of association with mismatch repair protein loss and lynch syndrome

Academic Article


  • Increased risk for upper tract urothelial carcinoma is described in patients with Lynch syndrome, caused by germline mutations in mismatch repair genes. We aimed to identify the frequency of mismatch repair protein loss in upper tract urothelial carcinoma and its potential for identifying an association with Lynch syndrome. We queried our database to identify upper tract urothelial carcinomas. Patients were cross-referenced for history of colorectal carcinoma or other common Lynch syndrome-associated neoplasms to enrich for potential Lynch syndrome cases. Tumor histopathologic characteristics were reviewed and each case was analyzed for loss of mismatch repair proteins, MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, and PMS2, by immunohistochemistry. Of 444 patients with upper tract urothelial carcinoma, a subset of 215 (encompassing 30 with upper tract urothelial carcinoma and another common Lynch syndrome-associated neoplasm) was analyzed for loss of mismatch repair protein expression. Of 30 patients with Lynch syndrome-associated neoplasms, six had documented Lynch syndrome, including two with Muir-Torre syndrome. Mismatch repair protein loss was identified in 7% of total upper tract urothelial carcinomas and 30% of patients with Lynch syndrome-associated neoplasms (including all patients with Lynch syndrome/Muir-Torre syndrome). Of patients without history of Lynch syndrome-associated neoplasms, 5 of 184 (2.7%) had loss of mismatch repair protein expression. Twelve cases with mismatch repair protein loss demonstrated loss of MSH2 and MSH6, and 2 had isolated loss of MSH6. MLH1 and PMS2 expression were consistently retained. Although increased intratumoral lymphocytes, inverted growth, pushing tumor-stromal interface, and lack of nuclear pleomorphism were more commonly seen in cases with mismatch repair protein loss, only intratumoral lymphocytes and presence of pushing borders were statistically significant. MLH1 and PMS2 testing appear to have little utility in upper tract urothelial carcinoma; however, mismatch repair protein loss of MSH2 and/or MSH6 by immunohistochemistry seems relatively sensitive and specific for identifying patients with potential Lynch syndrome.
  • Published In

  • Modern Pathology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Harper HL; McKenney JK; Heald B; Stephenson A; Campbell SC; Plesec T; Magi-Galluzzi C
  • Start Page

  • 146
  • End Page

  • 156
  • Volume

  • 30
  • Issue

  • 1