Publications by authors named "Karin Alvarez"

34 Publications

Immune System, Microbiota, and Microbial Metabolites: The Unresolved Triad in Colorectal Cancer Microenvironment.

Front Immunol 2021 26;12:612826. Epub 2021 Mar 26.

Research Core, Academic Department, Clínica Las Condes, Santiago, Chile.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common cancers worldwide. As with other cancers, CRC is a multifactorial disease due to the combined effect of genetic and environmental factors. Most cases are sporadic, but a small proportion is hereditary, estimated at around 5-10%. In both, the tumor interacts with heterogeneous cell populations, such as endothelial, stromal, and immune cells, secreting different signals (cytokines, chemokines or growth factors) to generate a favorable tumor microenvironment for cancer cell invasion and metastasis. There is ample evidence that inflammatory processes have a role in carcinogenesis and tumor progression in CCR. Different profiles of cell activation of the tumor microenvironment can promote pro or anti-tumor pathways; hence they are studied as a key target for the control of cancer progression. Additionally, the intestinal mucosa is in close contact with a microorganism community, including bacteria, bacteriophages, viruses, archaea, and fungi composing the gut microbiota. Aberrant composition of this microbiota, together with alteration in the diet-derived microbial metabolites content (such as butyrate and polyamines) and environmental compounds has been related to CRC. Some bacteria, such as or , are involved in colorectal carcinogenesis through different pathomechanisms including the induction of genetic mutations in epithelial cells and modulation of tumor microenvironment. Epithelial and immune cells from intestinal mucosa have Pattern-recognition receptors and G-protein coupled receptors (receptor of butyrate), suggesting that their activation can be regulated by intestinal microbiota and metabolites. In this review, we discuss how dynamics in the gut microbiota, their metabolites, and tumor microenvironment interplays in sporadic and hereditary CRC, modulating tumor progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.612826DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8033001PMC
March 2021

Clinical, Pathological and Molecular Characteristics of Chilean Patients with Early-, Intermediate- and Late-Onset Colorectal Cancer.

Cells 2021 Mar 12;10(3). Epub 2021 Mar 12.

Oncology Center, Clinica Universidad de Los Andes, Santiago 7620157, Chile.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most frequent neoplasm in Chile and its mortality rate is rising in all ages. However, studies characterizing CRC according to the age of onset are still lacking. This study aimed to identify clinical, pathological, and molecular features of CRC in Chilean patients according to the age of diagnosis: early- (≤50 years; EOCRC), intermediate- (51-69 years; IOCRC), and late-onset (≥70 years; LOCRC). The study included 426 CRC patients from Clinica Las Condes, between 2007 and 2019. A chi-square test was applied to explore associations between age of onset and clinicopathological characteristics. Body Mass Index (BMI) differences according to age of diagnosis was evaluated through t-test. Overall (OS) and cancer-specific survival (CSS) were estimated by the Kaplan-Meier method. We found significant differences between the age of onset, and gender, BMI, family history of cancer, TNM Classification of Malignant Tumors stage, OS, and CSS. EOCRC category was characterized by a family history of cancer, left-sided tumors with a more advanced stage of the disease but better survival at 10 years, and lower microsatellite instability (MSI), with predominant germline mutations. IOCRC has shown clinical similarities with the EOCRC and molecular similarities to the LOCRC, which agrees with other reports.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cells10030631DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7999342PMC
March 2021

Uptake of hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy in carriers of pathogenic mismatch repair variants: a Prospective Lynch Syndrome Database report.

Eur J Cancer 2021 May 17;148:124-133. Epub 2021 Mar 17.

Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik IV, Campus Innenstadt, Klinikum der Universität München, Munich, Germany; MGZ- Medical Genetics Center, Munich, Germany; The International Society for Gastrointestinal Hereditary Tumours (InSiGHT), The Polyposis Registry, St Mark's Hospital, Watford Road, Harrow, Middlesex, HA1 3UJ, UK; European Hereditary Tumour Group (EHTG), C/o Lindsays, Caledonian Exchange, 19A Canning Street, Edinburgh, EH3 8HE, United Kingdom.

Purpose: This study aimed to report the uptake of hysterectomy and/or bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (BSO) to prevent gynaecological cancers (risk-reducing surgery [RRS]) in carriers of pathogenic MMR (path_MMR) variants.

Methods: The Prospective Lynch Syndrome Database (PLSD) was used to investigate RRS by a cross-sectional study in 2292 female path_MMR carriers aged 30-69 years.

Results: Overall, 144, 79, and 517 carriers underwent risk-reducing hysterectomy, BSO, or both combined, respectively. Two-thirds of procedures before 50 years of age were combined hysterectomy and BSO, and 81% of all procedures included BSO. Risk-reducing hysterectomy was performed before age 50 years in 28%, 25%, 15%, and 9%, and BSO in 26%, 25%, 14% and 13% of path_MLH1, path_MSH2, path_MSH6, and path_PMS2 carriers, respectively. Before 50 years of age, 107 of 188 (57%) BSO and 126 of 204 (62%) hysterectomies were performed in women without any prior cancer, and only 5% (20/392) were performed simultaneously with colorectal cancer (CRC) surgery.

Conclusion: Uptake of RRS before 50 years of age was low, and RRS was rarely undertaken in association with surgical treatment of CRC. Uptake of RRS aligned poorly with gene- and age-associated risk estimates for endometrial or ovarian cancer that were published recently from PLSD and did not correspond well with current clinical guidelines. The reasons should be clarified. Decision-making on opting for or against RRS and its timing should be better aligned with predicted risk and mortality for endometrial and ovarian cancer in Lynch syndrome to improve outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.02.022DOI Listing
May 2021

Risk-reducing hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy in female heterozygotes of pathogenic mismatch repair variants: a Prospective Lynch Syndrome Database report.

Genet Med 2021 Apr 1;23(4):705-712. Epub 2020 Dec 1.

Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik IV, Campus Innenstadt, Klinikum der Universität München, Munich, Germany.

Purpose: To determine impact of risk-reducing hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (BSO) on gynecological cancer incidence and death in heterozygotes of pathogenic MMR (path_MMR) variants.

Methods: The Prospective Lynch Syndrome Database was used to investigate the effects of gynecological risk-reducing surgery (RRS) at different ages.

Results: Risk-reducing hysterectomy at 25 years of age prevents endometrial cancer before 50 years in 15%, 18%, 13%, and 0% of path_MLH1, path_MSH2, path_MSH6, and path_PMS2 heterozygotes and death in 2%, 2%, 1%, and 0%, respectively. Risk-reducing BSO at 25 years of age prevents ovarian cancer before 50 years in 6%, 11%, 2%, and 0% and death in 1%, 2%, 0%, and 0%, respectively. Risk-reducing hysterectomy at 40 years prevents endometrial cancer by 50 years in 13%, 16%, 11%, and 0% and death in 1%, 2%, 1%, and 0%, respectively. BSO at 40 years prevents ovarian cancer before 50 years in 4%, 8%, 0%, and 0%, and death in 1%, 1%, 0%, and 0%, respectively.

Conclusion: Little benefit is gained by performing RRS before 40 years of age and premenopausal BSO in path_MSH6 and path_PMS2 heterozygotes has no measurable benefit for mortality. These findings may aid decision making for women with LS who are considering RRS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-020-01029-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8026395PMC
April 2021

Spectrum and Frequency of Tumors, Cancer Risk and Survival in Chilean Families with Lynch Syndrome: Experience of the Implementation of a Registry.

J Clin Med 2020 Jun 15;9(6). Epub 2020 Jun 15.

Oncology and Molecular Genetic Laboratory, Coloproctology Unit, Clínica Las Condes, Santiago 7591047, Chile.

Lynch syndrome (LS) is associated with the highest risk of colorectal (CRC) and several extracolonic cancers. In our effort to characterize LS families from Latin America, this study aimed to describe the spectrum of neoplasms and cancer risk by gender, age and gene, and survival in 34 Chilean LS families. Of them, 59% harbored , 23% , 12% and 6% variants. A total of 866 individuals at risk were identified, of which 213 (24.6%) developed 308 neoplasms. In males, CRC was the most common cancer (72.6%), while females showed a greater frequency of extracolonic cancers (58.4%), including uterus and breast ( < 0.0001). The cumulative incidence of extracolonic cancers was higher in females than males ( = 0.001). variants are significantly more associated with the development of CRC than extracolonic tumors (59.5% vs. 40.5%) when compared to (47.5% vs. 52.5%) variants ( = 0.05018). The cumulative incidence of CRC was higher in / carriers compared to carriers ( = 0.03). In addition, carriers showed higher risk of extracolonic tumors ( = 0.002). In conclusion, this study provides a snapshot of the LS profile from Chile and the current LS-associated diagnostic practice and output in Chile. Categorizing cancer risks associated with each population is relevant in the genetic counselling of LS patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm9061861DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7356331PMC
June 2020

MLH1 intronic variants mapping to + 5 position of splice donor sites lead to deleterious effects on RNA splicing.

Fam Cancer 2020 10;19(4):323-336

Instituto de Medicina Traslacional e Ingeniería Biomédica (IMTIB) [HIBA-IUHI-CONICET], C1199ABH, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Germline pathogenic variants in the DNA mismatch repair genes (MMR): MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, and PMS2, are causative of Lynch syndrome (LS). However, many of the variants mapping outside the invariant splice site positions (IVS ± 1, IVS ± 2) are classified as variants of unknown significance (VUS). Three such variants (MLH1 c.588+5G>C, c.588+5G>T and c.677+5G>A) were identified in 8 unrelated LS families from Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Herein, we collected clinical information on these families and performed segregation analysis and RNA splicing studies to assess the implication of these VUS in LS etiology. Pedigrees showed a clear pattern of variant co-segregation with colorectal cancer and/or other LS-associated malignancies. Tumors presented deficient expression of MLH1-PMS2 proteins in 7/7 of the LS families, and MSI-high status in 3/3 cases. Moreover, RNA analyses revealed that c.588+5G>C and c.588+5G>T induce skipping of exon 7 whereas c.677+5G>A causes skipping of exon 8. In sum, we report that the combined clinical findings in the families and the molecular studies provided the evidences needed to demonstrate that the three MLH1 variants are causative of LS and to classify c.588+5G>C and c.677+5G>A as class 5 (pathogenic), and c.588+5G>T as class 4 (likely-pathogenic). Our findings underline the importance of performing clinical and family analyses, as well as RNA splicing assays in order to determine the clinical significance of intronic variants, and contribute to the genetic counseling and clinical management of patients and their relatives.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10689-020-00182-5DOI Listing
October 2020

A snapshot of current genetic testing practice in Lynch syndrome: The results of a representative survey of 33 Latin American existing centres/registries.

Eur J Cancer 2019 09 20;119:112-121. Epub 2019 Aug 20.

Hospital de Especialidades Eugenio Espejo, Subproceso de Anatomía Patológica, Área de Genética Clínica, Quito, Ecuador.

We aimed to assess the current genetics practice to manage patients with Lynch syndrome (LS) across Latin America. A Latin American LS survey was sent out to 52 centres/registries, comprising a total of 12 countries from the region. Overall, 33 centres completed the survey, of which the oldest LS registry was established in 1992 in Sao Paulo (Brazil), and the youngest this year in San Jose (Costa Rica). In total, 87% (26/30) of the participating centres/registries belonging to the nine countries are performing genetic testing. Overall, 1352 suspected families were sequenced. Pathogenic variants were identified in 34% of the families, with slightly differing distribution of variants between females and males. Path_MLH1 variants were identified in 39% of females and 50% of males (p = 0.023), while path_MSH2 were identified in 37% of females and males, followed by path_PMS2 in 11% of females and 8% of males, path_MSH6 in 13% of females and 3% of males (p < 0.001) and path_EPCAM in 0.3% of females and 2% of males. In Latin America, 9 of 12 (75%) participating countries had implemented healthcare for LS. LS screening is inconsistently applied within Latin America healthcare systems because of structural differences in the healthcare systems between the countries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2019.07.017DOI Listing
September 2019

Observations from a nationwide vigilance program in medical care for spinal muscular atrophy patients in Chile.

Arq Neuropsiquiatr 2019 07 29;77(7):470-477. Epub 2019 Jul 29.

Clínica Las Condes, Departamento de Neurología Pediátrica, Santiago, Chile.

Methods: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) has gained much attention in the last few years because of the approval of the first intrathecal treatment for this neurodegenerative disease. Latin America needs to develop the demographics of SMA, timely access to diagnosis, and appropriate following of the standards of care recommendations for patients. These are essential steps to guide health policies. This was a descriptive study of a cohort of SMA patients from all over Chile. We analyzed the clinical, motor functional, and social data, as well as the care status of nutritional, respiratory and skeletal conditions. We also measured the SMN2 copy number in this population.

Results: We recruited 92 patients: 50 male; 23 SMA type-1, 36 SMA type-2 and 33 SMA type-3. The median age at genetic diagnosis was 5, 24 and 132 months. We evaluated the SMN2 copy number in 57 patients. The SMA type-1 patients were tracheostomized and fed by gastrostomy in a 69.6 % of cases, 65% of SMA type-2 patients received nocturnal noninvasive ventilation, and 37% of the whole cohort underwent scoliosis surgery.

Conclusion: Ventilatory care for SMA type-1 is still based mainly on tracheostomy. This Chilean cohort of SMA patients had timely access to genetic diagnosis, ventilatory assistance, nutritional support, and scoliosis surgery. In this series, SMA type-1 is underrepresented, probably due to restrictions in access to early diagnosis and the high and early mortality rate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/0004-282X20190073DOI Listing
July 2019

Cancer risks by gene, age, and gender in 6350 carriers of pathogenic mismatch repair variants: findings from the Prospective Lynch Syndrome Database.

Genet Med 2020 01 24;22(1):15-25. Epub 2019 Jul 24.

Hereditary Cancer Program (PROCANHE), Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Purpose: Pathogenic variants affecting MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, and PMS2 cause Lynch syndrome and result in different but imprecisely known cancer risks. This study aimed to provide age and organ-specific cancer risks according to gene and gender and to determine survival after cancer.

Methods: We conducted an international, multicenter prospective observational study using independent test and validation cohorts of carriers of class 4 or class 5 variants. After validation the cohorts were merged providing 6350 participants and 51,646 follow-up years.

Results: There were 1808 prospectively observed cancers. Pathogenic MLH1 and MSH2 variants caused high penetrance dominant cancer syndromes sharing similar colorectal, endometrial, and ovarian cancer risks, but older MSH2 carriers had higher risk of cancers of the upper urinary tract, upper gastrointestinal tract, brain, and particularly prostate. Pathogenic MSH6 variants caused a sex-limited trait with high endometrial cancer risk but only modestly increased colorectal cancer risk in both genders. We did not demonstrate a significantly increased cancer risk in carriers of pathogenic PMS2 variants. Ten-year crude survival was over 80% following colon, endometrial, or ovarian cancer.

Conclusion: Management guidelines for Lynch syndrome may require revision in light of these different gene and gender-specific risks and the good prognosis for the most commonly associated cancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-019-0596-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7371626PMC
January 2020

The relationship between chemokines CCL2, CCL3, and CCL4 with the tumor microenvironment and tumor-associated macrophage markers in colorectal cancer.

Tumour Biol 2018 Nov;40(11):1010428318810059

2 Innate Immunity Laboratory, Disciplinary Program of Immunology, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile.

A complex network of chemokines can influence cancer progression with the recruitment and activation of hematopoietic cells, including macrophages to the supporting tumor stroma promoting carcinogenesis and metastasis. The aim of this study was to investigate the relation between tissue and plasma chemokine levels involved in macrophage recruitment with tumor-associated macrophage profile markers and clinicopathological features such as tumor-node-metastases stage, desmoplasia, tumor necrosis factor-α, and vascular endothelial growth factor plasma content. Plasma and tumor/healthy mucosa were obtained from Chilean patients undergoing colon cancer surgery. Chemokines were evaluated from tissue lysates (CCL2, CCL3, CCL4, CCL5, and CX3CL1) by Luminex. Statistical analysis was performed using Wilcoxon match-paired test ( p  < 0.05). Macrophage markers (CD68, CD163, and iNOS) were evaluated by immunohistochemistry samples derived from colorectal cancer patients. Correlation analysis between chemokines and macrophage markers and clinicopathological features were performed using Spearman's test. Plasmatic levels of chemokines and inflammatory mediators' vascular endothelial growth factor and tumor necrosis factor-α were evaluated by Luminex. Tumor levels of CCL2 (mean ± standard deviation = 530.1 ± 613.9 pg/mg), CCL3 (102.7 ± 106.0 pg/mg), and CCL4 (64.98 ± 48.09 pg/mg) were higher than those found in healthy tissue (182.1 ± 116.5, 26.79 ± 22.40, and 27.06 ± 23.69 pg/mg, respectively p < 0.05). The tumor characterization allowed us to identify a positive correlation between CCL4 and the pro-tumor macrophages marker CD163 ( p  = 0.0443), and a negative correlation of iNOS with desmoplastic reaction ( p  = 0.0467). Moreover, we identified that tumors with immature desmoplasia have a higher CD163 density compared to those with a mature/intermediated stromal tissue ( p  = 0.0288). Plasmatic CCL4 has shown a positive correlation with inflammatory mediators (tumor necrosis factor-α and vascular endothelial growth factor) that have previously been associated with poor prognosis in patients. In conclusion High expression of CCL4 in colon cancer could induce the infiltration of tumor-associated macrophages and specifically a pro-tumor macrophage profile (CD163 cells). Moreover, plasmatic chemokines could be considered inflammatory mediators associated to CRC progression as well as tumor necrosis factor-α and vascular endothelial growth factor. These data reinforce the idea of chemokines as potential therapeutic targets or biomarker in CRC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1010428318810059DOI Listing
November 2018

From colorectal cancer pattern to the characterization of individuals at risk: Picture for genetic research in Latin America.

Int J Cancer 2019 07 5;145(2):318-326. Epub 2018 Dec 5.

AC Camargo Cancer Center, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common cancers in Latin America and the Caribbean, with the highest rates reported for Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina. We provide a global snapshot of the CRC patterns, how screening is performed, and compared/contrasted to the genetic profile of Lynch syndrome (LS) in the region. From the literature, we find that only nine (20%) of the Latin America and the Caribbean countries have developed guidelines for early detection of CRC, and also with a low adherence. We describe a genetic profile of LS, including a total of 2,685 suspected families, where confirmed LS ranged from 8% in Uruguay and Argentina to 60% in Peru. Among confirmed LS, path_MLH1 variants were most commonly identified in Peru (82%), Mexico (80%), Chile (60%), and path_MSH2/EPCAM variants were most frequently identified in Colombia (80%) and Argentina (47%). Path_MSH6 and path_PMS2 variants were less common, but they showed important presence in Brazil (15%) and Chile (10%), respectively. Important differences exist at identifying LS families in Latin American countries, where the spectrum of path_MLH1 and path_MSH2 variants are those most frequently identified. Our findings have an impact on the evaluation of the patients and their relatives at risk for LS, derived from the gene affected. Although the awareness of hereditary cancer and genetic testing has improved in the last decade, it is remains deficient, with 39%-80% of the families not being identified for LS among those who actually met both the clinical criteria for LS and showed MMR deficiency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.31920DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6587543PMC
July 2019

Evaluation of MLH1 variants of unclear significance.

Genes Chromosomes Cancer 2018 Jul 30;57(7):350-358. Epub 2018 Apr 30.

Biomedizinisches Forschungslabor, Medizinische Klinik 1, Universitätsklinik Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany.

Inactivating mutations in the MLH1 gene cause the cancer predisposition Lynch syndrome, but for small coding genetic variants it is mostly unclear if they are inactivating or not. Nine such MLH1 variants have been identified in South American colorectal cancer (CRC) patients (p.Tyr97Asp, p.His112Gln, p.Pro141Ala, p.Arg265Pro, p.Asn338Ser, p.Ile501del, p.Arg575Lys, p.Lys618del, p.Leu676Pro), and evidence of pathogenicity or neutrality was not available for the majority of these variants. We therefore performed biochemical laboratory testing of the variant proteins and compared the results to protein in silico predictions on structure and conservation. Additionally, we collected all available clinical information of the families to come to a conclusion concerning their pathogenic potential and facilitate clinical diagnosis in the affected families. We provide evidence that four of the alterations are causative for Lynch syndrome, four are likely neutral and one shows compromised activity which can currently not be classified with respect to its pathogenic potential. The work demonstrates that biochemical testing, corroborated by congruent evolutionary and structural information, can serve to reliably classify uncertain variants when other data are insufficient.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/gcc.22536DOI Listing
July 2018

EGFR pathway subgroups in Chilean colorectal cancer patients, detected by mutational and expression profiles, associated to different clinicopathological features.

Tumour Biol 2017 Sep;39(9):1010428317724517

1 Laboratorio de Oncología y Genética Molecular, Unidad de Coloproctología, Clínica Las Condes, Santiago, Chile.

Colorectal cancer is a multistep process affecting several signaling pathways including EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor), a therapeutic target for metastatic disease. Our aim was to characterize the mutational and expression profiles of the EGFR pathway in colorectal tumors and to integrate these results according to five previously defined groups. We screened seven genes for mutations ( KRAS-BRAF-PIK3CA-PIK3R1-AKT1-MAP2K1-PTEN) and six proteins (EGFR-p110α-p85α-PTEN-phosphoAKT-phosphoMEK1) by immunohistochemistry, PTEN deletion, and MSI. At least one mutated gene was observed in 68% of tumors ( KRAS 45%, PIK3CA 21%, BRAF 14%, and PTEN 7%). PTEN deletion was observed in 10.7% of tumors and 19.6% were MSI-High. In all, 54% of tumors showed a high EGFR expression, 48% p110α, 4.4% phosphoAKT, and 22% phosphoMEK1; and 43% showed low PTEN expression and 22% p85α. In total, five groups of tumors were defined based on MSI, BRAF, and KRAS mutations. Three groups gather mainly early-stage tumors, whereas a fourth group is mostly conformed by advanced tumors. We described here that 71.4% of tumors from one group have a mutated PI3K/PTEN pathway, in comparison to other groups having 32%, 27%, and 25%. In addition, the five groups are differentiated by molecular features such as EGFR, p85α, p110α, and PTEN, showing variable expression among tumor groups. In conclusion, alterations on the EGFR pathway were found in a high percentage of colorectal cancer patients. Using the integration of diverse molecular markers, we ratified previous classification in an ethnic group having relevant genetic differences and living in a different environmental background, adding complementary molecular targets related to therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1010428317724517DOI Listing
September 2017

A survey of the clinicopathological and molecular characteristics of patients with suspected Lynch syndrome in Latin America.

BMC Cancer 2017 Sep 5;17(1):623. Epub 2017 Sep 5.

Hospital Sirio Libanes, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Background: Genetic counselling and testing for Lynch syndrome (LS) have recently been introduced in several Latin America countries. We aimed to characterize the clinical, molecular and mismatch repair (MMR) variants spectrum of patients with suspected LS in Latin America.

Methods: Eleven LS hereditary cancer registries and 34 published LS databases were used to identify unrelated families that fulfilled the Amsterdam II (AMSII) criteria and/or the Bethesda guidelines or suggestive of a dominant colorectal (CRC) inheritance syndrome.

Results: We performed a thorough investigation of 15 countries and identified 6 countries where germline genetic testing for LS is available and 3 countries where tumor testing is used in the LS diagnosis. The spectrum of pathogenic MMR variants included MLH1 up to 54%, MSH2 up to 43%, MSH6 up to 10%, PMS2 up to 3% and EPCAM up to 0.8%. The Latin America MMR spectrum is broad with a total of 220 different variants which 80% were private and 20% were recurrent. Frequent regions included exons 11 of MLH1 (15%), exon 3 and 7 of MSH2 (17 and 15%, respectively), exon 4 of MSH6 (65%), exons 11 and 13 of PMS2 (31% and 23%, respectively). Sixteen international founder variants in MLH1, MSH2 and MSH6 were identified and 41 (19%) variants have not previously been reported, thus representing novel genetic variants in the MMR genes. The AMSII criteria was the most used clinical criteria to identify pathogenic MMR carriers although microsatellite instability, immunohistochemistry and family history are still the primary methods in several countries where no genetic testing for LS is available yet.

Conclusion: The Latin America LS pathogenic MMR variants spectrum included new variants, frequently altered genetic regions and potential founder effects, emphasizing the relevance implementing Lynch syndrome genetic testing and counseling in all of Latin America countries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12885-017-3599-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5586063PMC
September 2017

Low Gene Dosage of Cdc42 Is Not Associated with Protein Dysfunction in Patients with Colorectal Cancer.

DNA Cell Biol 2016 Dec 19;35(12):819-827. Epub 2016 Aug 19.

1 Deparment of Pharmacy, Faculty of Chemistry, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago de Chile, Chile .

High incidence of Rho Cdc42-GTPase overexpression has been found in Colorectal Cancer (CRC) samples, suggesting its potential role in tumor development. However, no conclusive studies have shown the lack of mutations and/or copy number of Cdc42 gene in this type of samples. To understand mutation/deletion and copy number status of Cdc42 gene, CRC patients were evaluated for both parameters. More than Cdc42 mutants, single-nucleotide variants were found. Analysis of regions flanking the Cdc42 gene showed allelic imbalance; 58.7% were loss of heterozygosity (LOH) positive and 14.8% presented microsatellite instability. The highest LOH percentage was located between microsatellite markers D1S199 and D1S2674, where the Cdc42 gene is located. No association between gender, age, and tumor stage was found. LOH validation through gene dosage analysis showed most CRC patients with allelic imbalance also presented a low gene dosage of Cdc42, although equal amounts of Cdc42 mRNA were detected in all samples. Although changes in Cdc42 expression were not found in any condition, Cdc42 activation was different between high and normal gene dosage samples, but not between samples with normal and low copy number. Low dosage of Cdc42 was also not related to changes in methylation status at the Cdc42 promoter region. Results suggest that low copy of Cdc42 gene is not associated with Cdc42 protein dysfunction in CRC patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/dna.2015.3098DOI Listing
December 2016

Lynch syndrome in South America: past, present and future.

Fam Cancer 2016 07;15(3):437-45

Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH, USA.

After decades of unawareness about Lynch syndrome, the medical community in South America is increasingly interested and informed. The visits and support of mentors like H. T. Lynch had been crucial to this awakening. Several countries have at least one registry with skilled personnel in genetic counseling and research. However, this only represents a very restricted resource for the region. According to the GETH, there are 27 hereditary cancer care centers in South America (21 in Brazil, 3 in Argentina, 1 in Uruguay, 1 in Chile and 1 in Peru). These registries differ in fundamental aspects of function, capabilities and funding, but are able to conduct high quality clinical, research and educational activities due to the dedication and personal effort of their members, and organizational support. More support from the governments as well as the participation of the community would boost the initiatives of people leading these groups. Meantime, the collaboration among the South American registries and the involvement of registries and leaders from developed countries will allow to maximize the efficiency in caring for affected patients and their families. The aim of this article is to describe how the knowledge of LS began to be spread in South America, how the first registries were organized and to summarize the current state of progress. In addition, we will provide an update of the clinical and molecular findings in the region.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10689-016-9903-7DOI Listing
July 2016

Pyruvate dehydrogenase deficiency presenting as isolated paroxysmal exercise induced dystonia successfully reversed with thiamine supplementation. Case report and mini-review.

Eur J Paediatr Neurol 2015 Sep 14;19(5):497-503. Epub 2015 May 14.

Unit of Neurology, Dept. of Pediatrics and Dept. of Neurology, Clínica las Condes, Santiago, Chile.

Background: Pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) deficiency is a disorder of energy metabolism with variable clinical presentations, ranging from severe infantile lactic acidosis to milder chronic neurological disorders. The spectrum of clinical manifestations is continuously expanding.

Methods And Results: We report on a 19-year-old intelligent female with PDH deficiency caused by a Leu216Ser mutation in PDHA1. She presented with recurrent hemidystonic attacks, triggered by prolonged walking or running, as the unique clinical manifestation that manifested since childhood. Laboratory workup and neuroimages were initially normal but bilateral globus pallidum involvement appeared later on brain MRI. Dystonia completely remitted after high doses of thiamine, remaining free of symptoms after 3 years of follow up. We reviewed the literature for similar observations.

Conclusions: Dystonia precipitated by exercise may be the only symptom of a PDH deficiency, and the hallmark of the disease as high serum lactate or bilateral striatal necrosis at neuroimaging may be absent. A high index of suspicion and follow up is necessary for diagnosis. The clinical presentation of this patient meets the criteria for a Paroxysmal Exercise induced Dystonia, leading us to add this entity as another potential etiology for this type of paroxysmal dyskinesia, which is besides a treatable condition that responds to thiamine supplementation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpn.2015.04.008DOI Listing
September 2015

Muscle magnetic resonance imaging and histopathology in ACTA1-related congenital nemaline myopathy.

Muscle Nerve 2014 Dec 30;50(6):1011-6. Epub 2014 Oct 30.

Unidad de Neurología. Departamento de Pediatría, Clínica las Condes, Lo Fontecilla 441, Las Condes, Santiago, Chile.

Introduction: Muscle biopsy is usually diagnostic in nemaline myopathy (NM), but some patients may show nonspecific findings, leading to pitfalls in diagnosis. Muscle MRI is a helpful complementary tool.

Methods: We assessed the clinical, histopathological, MRI, and molecular findings in a 19-year-old patient with NM in whom 2 muscle biopsies with ultrastructural examination showed no nemaline bodies. We analyzed the degree and pattern of muscle MRI involvement of the entire body, including the tongue and pectoral muscles.

Results: Muscle MRI abnormalities in sartorius, adductor magnus, and anterior compartment muscles of the leg suggested NM. A previously unreported fatty infiltration of the tongue was found. A third biopsy after the muscle MRI showed scant nemaline bodies. A novel heterozygous de novo ACTA1 c.611C>T/p.Thr204Ile mutation was detected.

Conclusions: We highlight the contribution of muscle imaging in addressing the genetic diagnosis of ACTA1-related NM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mus.24353DOI Listing
December 2014

Activating PIK3CA somatic mutation in congenital unilateral isolated muscle overgrowth of the upper extremity.

Am J Med Genet A 2014 Sep 26;164A(9):2365-9. Epub 2014 Jun 26.

Unit of Neurology, Dept. of Pediatrics, Clínica Las Condes, Santiago, Chile.

Congenital unilateral overgrowth of the upper extremity affecting only the muscle tissue is rare. We describe on the clinical, histopathological, and neuroimaging findings in a 6-year-old girl with a congenital, non-progressive muscle enlargement of the entire left upper limb with an ipsilateral hand deformity. No cutaneous stigmata or additional features were detected. Sanger sequencing for the AKT1, PIK3CA, and PTEN genes identified an activating c.3140A>G, p.H1047R mutation in the PIK3CA gene from the affected muscle DNA. We demonstrate that isolated congenital muscular upper limb overgrowth with aberrant hand muscles is another condition related genetically to the PIK3CA-related overgrowth spectrum.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.36651DOI Listing
September 2014

Mutation spectrum in South American Lynch syndrome families.

Hered Cancer Clin Pract 2013 Dec 18;11(1):18. Epub 2013 Dec 18.

The Danish HNPCC Register, Clinical Research Centre, Hvidovre Hospital, Copenhagen University, Hvidovre, Denmark.

Background: Genetic counselling and testing for Lynch syndrome have recently been introduced in several South American countries, though yet not available in the public health care system.

Methods: We compiled data from publications and hereditary cancer registries to characterize the Lynch syndrome mutation spectrum in South America. In total, data from 267 families that fulfilled the Amsterdam criteria and/or the Bethesda guidelines from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay were included.

Results: Disease-predisposing mutations were identified in 37% of the families and affected MLH1 in 60% and MSH2 in 40%. Half of the mutations have not previously been reported and potential founder effects were identified in Brazil and in Colombia.

Conclusion: The South American Lynch syndrome mutation spectrum includes multiple new mutations, identifies potential founder effects and is useful for future development of genetic testing in this continent.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1897-4287-11-18DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3904200PMC
December 2013

Medical genetics and genetic counseling in Chile.

J Genet Couns 2013 Dec 7;22(6):869-74. Epub 2013 Jun 7.

Center for Human Genetics, Facultad de Medicina Clínica Alemana-Universidad del Desarrollo, Av. Las Condes 12438, Santiago, Chile, 7710162,

In the South American Republic of Chile genetic counseling is not currently recognized as an independent clinical discipline, and in general is provided by physicians with training in clinical genetics. At present only one genetic counselor and 28 clinical geneticists practice in this country of over 16 million inhabitants. Pediatric dysmorphology constitutes the primary area of practice in clinical genetics. Although the country has a universal health care system and an adequate level of health care, genetic conditions are not considered a health care priority and there is a lack of clinical and laboratory resources designated for clinical genetics services. Multiple educational, cultural and financial barriers exist to the growth and development of genetic counseling services in Chile. However, during the last 10 years increased awareness of the importance of identifying individuals at risk for inherited cancer syndromes led to growing interest in the practice of cancer genetics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10897-013-9607-1DOI Listing
December 2013

[Homozygous germline mutation in MUTYH gene in familial adenomatous polyposis].

Rev Med Chil 2012 Nov;140(11):1457-63

Laboratorio de Oncología y Genética Molecular, Unidad de Coloproctología, Clínica Las Condes, Santiago, Chile.

Recently, MUTYH mutations have been reported to predispose to the development of polyposis. However, polyposis caused by mutations in MUTYH has been characterized as an autosomal recessive hereditary disease, different from the autosomal dominant pattern observed in polyposis caused by APC mutations. We report a 41-year-old female consulting for anemia. Colonoscopy detected multiple sessile polyps and a cecal carcinoma. The patient was operated and in the surgical piece, the tumor invaded serosa and there was lymph node involvement. Approximately 100 polyps were found. The patient received 5-fluorouracil, as adjuvant therapy. The patient had a sister (of a total of 12 brothers) with a colorectal carcinoma. The genetic study identified a homozygous mutation of the MUTYH gene, called c.340T > C, that produces an amino acid change of tyrosine for histidine called p.Y114H. The sister with colorectal cancer was a heterozygous carrier of this mutation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0034-98872012001100013DOI Listing
November 2012

[Lynch syndrome: selection of families by microsatellite instability and immunohistochemistry].

Rev Med Chil 2012 Sep;140(9):1132-9

Unidad de Coloproctología, Laboratorio de Oncología y Genética Molecular, Chile.

Background: Selection of patients with Lynch Syndrome (LS) for a genetic study involves the application of clinical criteria. To increase the rate of identification of mutations, the use of molecular studies as Microsatellite Instability (MSI) and Immunohistochemistry (IHC) in the tumor has been proposed.

Aim: To demonstrate the usefulness of MSI and IHC in the detection of mutations in patients with LS.

Material And Methods: From our Familial Colorectal Cancer Registry, families suspected of LS were selected according to Amsterdam or Bethesda clinical criteria. Screening of germline mutations of MLH1, MSH2 and MSH6 genes was performed. In addition, analysis of MSI and IHC were performed in colorectal tumors.

Results: A total of 35 families were studied (19 met Amsterdam and 16 met Bethesda criteria). Twenty one families harbored a germline alteration in MLH1, MSH2 or MSH6 (18 Amsterdam and 3 Bethesda). In these families, eighteen different alterations were found, 15 of which were mutations and 3 corresponded to variants of uncertain pathogenicity. On the other hand, 80% of the tumors showed positive microsatellite instability (27 MSI-high and 1 MSI-low), and immunohistochemical testing showed that 77% of tumors had the loss of a protein. Correlation between results of tumor molecular studies and the finding of germline nucleotide change showed that IHC and MSI predicted mutations in 81 and 100% of patients, respectively.

Conclusions: MSI and IHC can efficiently select patients with a high probability of carrying a mutation in DNA repair genes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0034-98872012000900005DOI Listing
September 2012

Spectrum of MLH1 and MSH2 mutations in Chilean families with suspected Lynch syndrome.

Dis Colon Rectum 2010 Apr;53(4):450-9

Unidad de Coloproctología, Clínica Las Condes, Santiago, Chile.

Purpose: Lynch syndrome is the most common inherited syndrome of colorectal cancer, caused principally by germline mutations in MLH1 and MSH2. We report our experience with genetic screening in the diagnosis of Lynch syndrome in Chile, a country previously underserved in the capacity to diagnose hereditary colorectal cancer.

Methods: Families from our Familial Colorectal Cancer Registry were selected for this study if they fulfilled either Amsterdam I/II or Bethesda criteria for classification of Lynch syndrome. Analysis of colorectal tumors from probands included a microsatellite instability study and immunohistochemical evaluation for MLH1 and MSH2. Screening of germline mutations was performed by single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis and DNA sequencing.

Results: A total of 21 families were evaluated, 14 meeting Amsterdam criteria and 7 meeting Bethesda criteria. Tumors in 20 families (95%) showed microsatellite instability (19 high and 1 low) and 9 of these 20 families (45%) harbored a germline mutation (7 of 13 Amsterdam and 2 of 7 Bethesda families). Of the 9 mutations identified, 6 were in MLH1 and 3 in MSH2. Two of the mutations were novel, 3 were previously found in 1 to 2 European populations, and 4 were previously found in various ethnic populations worldwide. Only 2 mutations were previously found in another Latin American population (Colombia). In our probands, colorectal cancer was located mainly (57%) in the right or transverse colon. Pedigree information from 104 family affected members of 21 studied families showed endometrial cancer to be the most frequent primary extracolonic tumor, accounting for 15.1% of total cases, followed by stomach (13.2%) and breast cancer (11.3%). Analysis of mitochondrial DNA haplotypes showed a strong Amerindian genetic component in 15 (71.4%) of the 21 families analyzed.

Conclusion: The study of Lynch syndrome in families of different ethnic origins contributes to the definition of genetic and clinical differences among populations. Wide distribution in other ethnic populations strongly suggests varying origins of 4 the mutations found. Although cancer phenotype was consistent with those from other Latin American populations, only 2 of 9 mutations were shared with other South American populations and 2 novel mutations were found. The Chilean population is considered to be an admixture of Amerindian and European-mainly Spanish-populations, producing an ethnic group with significant genetic differences from populations previously studied.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/DCR.0b013e3181d0c114DOI Listing
April 2010

Structure and functionality in flavivirus NS-proteins: perspectives for drug design.

Antiviral Res 2010 Aug 27;87(2):125-48. Epub 2009 Nov 27.

Department of Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology, University of Milano, Via Celoria 26, 20133 Milano, Italy.

Flaviviridae are small enveloped viruses hosting a positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome. Besides yellow fever virus, a landmark case in the history of virology, members of the Flavivirus genus, such as West Nile virus and dengue virus, are increasingly gaining attention due to their re-emergence and incidence in different areas of the world. Additional environmental and demographic considerations suggest that novel or known flaviviruses will continue to emerge in the future. Nevertheless, up to few years ago flaviviruses were considered low interest candidates for drug design. At the start of the European Union VIZIER Project, in 2004, just two crystal structures of protein domains from the flaviviral replication machinery were known. Such pioneering studies, however, indicated the flaviviral replication complex as a promising target for the development of antiviral compounds. Here we review structural and functional aspects emerging from the characterization of two main components (NS3 and NS5 proteins) of the flavivirus replication complex. Most of the reviewed results were achieved within the European Union VIZIER Project, and cover topics that span from viral genomics to structural biology and inhibition mechanisms. The ultimate aim of the reported approaches is to shed light on the design and development of antiviral drug leads.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.antiviral.2009.11.009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3918146PMC
August 2010

[Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer. Report of four siblings].

Rev Med Chil 2008 Jun 26;136(6):757-62. Epub 2008 Aug 26.

Departamento de Cirugía Digestiva, Facultad de Medicina, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.

Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) or Lynch Syndrome is an autosomic dominant syndrome involving 596-1096 of colorectal cancer patients. Mutations in MLH1 and MSH2 genes account for most cases. These two genes participate in the DNA mismatch repair pathway. Therefore mutation carriers show microsatellite instability (MSI) in tumors. This syndrome is characterized by the early development of colorectal cancer (before 50 years) and an increased incidence of cancer in other organs. We report four siblings from a family diagnosed with HNPCC. All of them were subjected to colonic surgery for colorectal cancer Moreover, one patient developed an ampulloma after her colon surgery. The molecular-genetic analysis revealed three brothers with microsatellite instability in the tumor tissue, the absence of the MLH1 protein, and the presence of a germ line mutation localized in introm 15 of the MLH1 gene.
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http://dx.doi.org//S0034-98872008000600011DOI Listing
June 2008