RNF43 is mutated less frequently in Lynch Syndrome compared with sporadic microsatellite unstable colorectal cancers

Lochlan J. Fennell, Mark Clendenning, Diane M. McKeone, Saara H. Jamieson, Samanthy Balachandran, Jennifer Borowsky, John Liu, Futoshi Kawamata, Catherine E. Bond, Christophe Rosty, Matthew E. Burge, Daniel D. Buchanan, Barbara A. Leggett, Vicki L.J. Whitehall

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12 Citations (Scopus)


The WNT signaling pathway is commonly altered during colorectal cancer development. The E3 ubiquitin ligase, RNF43, negatively regulates the WNT signal through increased ubiquitination and subsequent degradation of the Frizzled receptor. RNF43 has recently been reported to harbor frequent truncating frameshift mutations in sporadic microsatellite unstable (MSI) colorectal cancers. This study assesses the relative frequency of RNF43 mutations in hereditary colorectal cancers arising in the setting of Lynch syndrome. The entire coding region of RNF43 was Sanger sequenced in 24 colorectal cancers from 23 patients who either (i) carried a germline mutation in one of the DNA mismatch repair genes (MLH1, MSH6, MSH2, PMS2), or (ii) showed immunohistochemical loss of expression of one or more of the DNA mismatch repair proteins, was BRAF wild type at V600E, were under 60 years of age at diagnosis, and demonstrated no promoter region methylation for MLH1 in tumor DNA. A validation cohort of 44 colorectal cancers from mismatch repair germline mutation carriers from the Australasian Colorectal Cancer Family Registry (ACCFR) were sequenced for the most common truncating mutation hotspots (X117 and X659). RNF43 mutations were found in 9 of 24 (37.5%) Lynch syndrome colorectal cancers. The majority of mutations were frameshift deletions in the G659 G7 repeat tract (29%); 2 cancers (2/24, 8%) from the one patient harbored frameshift mutations at codon R117 (C6 repeat tract) within exon 3. In the ACCFR validation cohort, RNF43 hotspot mutations were identified in 19/44 (43.2%) of samples, which was not significantly different to the initial series. The proportion of mutant RNF43 in Lynch syndrome related colorectal cancers is significantly lower than the previously reported mutation rate found in sporadic MSI colorectal cancers. These findings identify further genetic differences between sporadic and hereditary colorectal cancers. This may be because Lynch Syndrome cancers commonly arise in colorectal adenomas already bearing the APC mutation, whereas sporadic microsatellite unstable colorectal cancers arise from serrated polyps typically lacking APC mutation, decreasing the selection pressure on other WNT signaling related loci in Lynch syndrome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-69
Number of pages7
JournalFamilial Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Lynch syndrome
  • Microsatellite instability
  • MSI
  • RNF43

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