Am J Surg Pathol 2012 May;36(5):744-52
Departments of Pathology, Stanford University, CA 94305, USA.
The association of BRAF V600E mutation and the presence of the CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) and microsatellite instability (MSI) often confound analysis of BRAF mutation status and survival in colorectal carcinoma. We evaluated a consecutive series of proximal colonic adenocarcinomas for mismatch repair protein abnormalities/MSI, BRAF V600E mutation, and KRAS mutations in an attempt to determine the prognostic significance of these abnormalities and to correlate histopathologic features with molecular alterations. Of the 259 proximal colon adenocarcinomas analyzed for mismatch repair protein abnormalities and/or MSI, 181 proximal colonic adenocarcinomas demonstrated proficient DNA mismatch repair using either MSI PCR (n=78), mismatch repair protein immunohistochemistry (n=91), or both MSI PCR and mismatch repair immunohistochemistry (n=12); these were tested for the BRAF V600E mutation and KRAS mutations. Compared with BRAF wild-type adenocarcinomas, BRAF-mutated adenocarcinomas more frequently demonstrated adverse histologic features such as lymphatic invasion (16/20, 80% vs. 75/161, 47%; P=0.008), mean number of lymph node metastases (4.5 vs. 2.2; P=0.01), perineural invasion (8/20, 40% vs. 13/161, 8%; P=0.0004), and high tumor budding (16/20, 80% vs. 83/161, 52%; P=0.02). BRAF-mutated adenocarcinomas frequently contained areas with mucinous histology (P=0.0002) and signet ring histology (P=0.03), compared with KRAS-mutated and KRAS/BRAF wild-type adenocarcinomas. Clinical follow-up data were available for 173 proximal colonic adenocarcinomas with proficient DNA mismatch repair. Patients with BRAF-mutated adenocarcinomas had a median survival of 12.3 months with a 1-year probability of survival of 54% and a 1-year disease-free survival of 56%. Patients with KRAS-mutated and KRAS/BRAF wild-type adenocarcinomas had significantly improved overall survival (unadjusted log-rank P=0.03 and unadjusted log-rank P=0.0002, respectively) and disease-free survival (unadjusted log-rank P=0.02 and unadjusted log-rank P=0.02, respectively) compared with patients with BRAF-mutated adenocarcinomas. When adjusting for tumor stage, survival analysis demonstrated that patients with BRAF-mutated adenocarcinoma had a significantly poor overall survival and disease-free survival (hazard ratios 6.63, 95% CI, 2.60-16.94; and 6.08, 95% CI, 2.11-17.56, respectively) compared with patients with KRAS/BRAF wild-type adenocarcinomas. No significant difference in overall or disease-free survival was identified between patients with KRAS-mutated and KRAS/BRAF wild-type adenocarcinomas. Our results demonstrate that BRAF-mutated proximal colon adenocarcinomas with proficient DNA mismatch repair have a dismal prognosis with an aggressive clinical course and often display mucinous differentiation, focal signet ring histology, and other adverse histologic features such as lymphatic and perineural invasion and high tumor budding.