Mismatch repair gene defects in sporadic colorectal cancer enhance immune surveillance

Marco Scarpa, Cesare Ruffolo, Fabio Canal, Melania Scarpa, Silvia Basato, Francesca Erroi, Alain Fiorot, Lucia Dall'Agnese, Anna Pozza, Andrea Porzionato, Ignazio Castagliuolo, Angelo P. Dei Tos, Nicolò Bassi, Carlo Castoro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background There is evidence that colorectal cancers (CRC) with DNA mismatch repair deficiency (MMR-D) are associated with a better prognosis than the generality of large bowel malignancies. Since an active immune surveillance process has been demonstrated to influence CRC outcome, we investigated whether MMR-D can enhance the immune response in CRC. Patients and Methods A group of 113 consecutive patients operated for CRC (42 stage I or II and 71 with stage III or IV) was retrospectively analyzed. The expression of MMR genes (MSH2, MLH1, MSH6 and PSM2) and co-stimulatory molecule CD80 was assessed by tissue microarray immunohistochemistry. In addition, tumor infiltrating mononuclear cells (TIMC) and T cell subpopulations (CD4, CD8, T-bet and FoxP-3) were quantified. The effect of specific siRNA (siMSH2, siMLH1, siMSH6 and siPSM2) transfection in HT29 on CD80 expression was quantified by flow cytometry. Non parametric statistics and survival analysis were used. Results Patients with MMR-D showed a higher T-bet/CD4 ratio (p = 0.02), a higher rate of CD80 expression and CD8 lymphocyte infiltration compared to those with no MMR-D. Moreover, in the MMR-D group, the Treg marker FoxP-3 was not expressed (p = 0.05). MMR-D patients with stage I or II and T-bet expression had a significant better survival (p = 0.009). Silencing of MSH2, MLH1 and MSH6, but not PSM2, significantly increased the rate of CD80+ HT29 cells (p = 0.007, p = 0.023 and p = 0.015, respectively). Conclusions CRC with MMR-D showed a higher CD80 expression, and CD8+ and Th1 T-cell infiltration. In vitro silencing of MSH2, MLH1 and MSH6 significantly increased CD80+ cell rate. These results suggest an enhanced immune surveillance mechanism in presence of MMR-D.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43472-43482
Number of pages11
Issue number41
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • CD80
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Immune surveillance
  • Mismatch repair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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