Mutational and expressional analysis ofSMC2gene in gastric and colorectal cancers with microsatellite instability

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Structural maintenance of chromosomes 2 (SMC2) gene encodes condensin complexes that are required for proper chromosome segregation and maintenance of chromosomal stability. Although cells with defective chromosome segregation become aneuploid and are prone to harbor chromosome instability, pathologic implications of SMC2 gene alterations are largely unknown. In a public database, we found that SMC2 gene had mononucleotide repeats that could be mutated in cancers with microsatellite instability (MSI). In this study, we analyzed these repeats in 32 gastric cancers (GC) with high MSI (MSI-H), 59 GC with low MSI (MSI-L)/stable MSI (MSS), 43 colorectal cancers (CRC) with MSI-H and 60 CRC with MSI-L/MSS by single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) and DNA sequencing. We also analyzed SMC2 protein expression in GC and CRC tissues using immunohistochemistry. We found SMC2 frameshift mutations in two GC and two CRC that would result in truncation of SMC2. The mutations were detected exclusively in MSI-H cancers, but not in MSI-L/MSS cancers. Loss of SMC2 expression was observed in 22% of GC and 25% of CRC. Of note, all of the cancers with SMC2 frameshift mutations displayed loss of SMC2 expression. Also, both GC and CRC with MSI-H had significantly higher incidences in SMC2 frameshift mutations and loss of SMC2 expression than those with MSI-L/MSS. Our data indicate that SMC2 gene is altered by both frameshift mutation and loss of expression in GC and CRC with MSI-H, and suggest that SMC2 gene alterations might be involved in pathogenesis of these cancers.

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