Montse Verdú1,2, Ruth Román1, Miquel Calvo3, Natàlia Rodón1, Beatriz García1, Marta González1, August Vidal1,2, and Xavier Puig1,2,4.
1BIOPAT. Biopatologia Molecular, SL, Grup Assistencia, Barcelona, Spain; 2 Histopat Laboratoris, Barcelona, Spain; 3Statistics Department, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain and 4Hospital de Barcelona, SCIAS, Grup Assistencia, Barcelona, Spain.
Invasive micropapillary carcinoma is associated with frequent lymph node metastasis and adverse clinical outcome. Initially described as a variant of breast and ovarian carcinoma, it has subsequently been found in other organs, most recently the colon. Reports of colorectal micropapillary carcinoma to date are limited in number, and their molecular profile has not been established. The aims of the present study were to analyze their clinicopathological features and molecular profile and compare them with those of conventional adenocarcinoma. Clinicopathological features of a cohort of 379 patients with primary colorectal cancer were retrospectively reviewed for the presence of the pattern characteristic of micropapillary carcinoma. We also assessed the expression of KRT7, KRT20, CEACAM5, MUC1 (EMA, clone E29), MUC1 (clone MA695), MLH1, MSH2, MSH6 and TP53 by immunohistochemistry. Genetic assessments of microsatellite instability, chromosomes 17p and 18q, and mutations in TP53, BRAF and KRAS were performed using DNA extracted from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded sections. In all, 60 of the reviewed cases (16%) had a micropapillary component that ranged from 5 to 95% of the tumor, characterized by a higher frequency of an infiltrative pattern, lymphovascular and perineural invasion, a higher depth of invasion and more positive lymph nodes than conventional adenocarcinoma. Immunohistochemistry for MUC1 (clone MA695) and MUC1 (EMA, clone E29) enhanced the characteristic inside-out staining pattern of the micropapillary carcinoma component, whereas the rest of the tumor showed luminal staining patterns. KRT7 expression was slightly increased in micropapillary carcinoma, but did not reach significance (17-3%, p=0.1967). The molecular parameters showed a higher frequency of TP53 alterations and a low incidence of microsatellite instability and RER phenotype (loss of mismatch repair protein) in micropapillary carcinoma. With regard to the histological parameters, micropapillary carcinoma appears to be more aggressive than conventional colorectal adenocarcinoma. The molecular profile supports the hypothesis that micropapillary carcinoma carcinogenesis develops through the classical chromosomal instability pathway.