Cancer Res 2017 08 13;77(15):4078-4088. Epub 2017 Jun 13.
Department of Medical and Clinical Genetics, Medicum, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
Approximately 15% of colorectal cancers exhibit microsatellite instability (MSI), which leads to accumulation of large numbers of small insertions and deletions (indels). Genes that provide growth advantage to cells via loss-of-function mutations in microsatellites are called MSI target genes. Several criteria to define these genes have been suggested, one of them being simple mutation frequency. Microsatellite mutation rate, however, depends on the length and nucleotide context of the microsatellite. Therefore, assessing the general impact of mismatch repair deficiency on the likelihood of mutation events is paramount when following this approach. To identify MSI target genes, we developed a statistical model for the somatic background indel mutation rate of microsatellites to assess mutation significance. Exome sequencing data of 24 MSI colorectal cancers revealed indels at 54 million mononucleotide microsatellites of three or more nucleotides in length. The top 105 microsatellites from 71 genes were further analyzed in 93 additional MSI colorectal cancers. Mutation significance and estimated clonality of mutations determined the most likely MSI target genes to be the aminoadipate-semialdehyde dehydrogenase and the solute transporter Our findings offer a systematic profiling of the somatic background mutation rate in protein-coding mononucleotide microsatellites, allowing a full cataloging of the true targets of MSI in colorectal cancer. .