• key words;
  • Microsatellite instability;
  • Replication error;
  • Endometrial cancer;
  • Clinicopathological characteristics;
  • Lymphocyte accumulation

Microsatellite instability (MI) has been detected in certain sporadic cancers as well as in hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC). In order to determine the precise clinicopathological characteristics of MI in endometrial cancer, we examined 90 sporadic endometrial cancers (83 endometrioid adenocarcinomas, 3 adenosquamous carcinomas, 3 papillary serous carcinomas, and 1 clear cell carcinoma) and eight lesions of endometrial hyperplasia for replication error (RER) using polymerase chain reaction amplification of CA repeated microsatellite sequences at 15 loci. RER was observed in 23 (28%) of the 83 endometrioid adenocarcinomas at at least one locus and in 19 (23%) at two or more loci (RER+ phenotype) in the seven most commonly observed loci, but not in carcinomas of other histological types or in endometrial hyperplasia. Lymphocyte infiltration around carcinoma cells, which is one of the histological features seen in tumors from HNPCC, was severer in RER+ phenotype tumors (79%, 11/14) than in the RER– tumors (25%, 11/44) (marked/moderate infiltration versus slight, P<0.001, χ2 test), when 58 tumors with muscular invasion were examined. The RER+ phenotype was associated with a higher parity and gravidity (P<0.05, Wilcoxon test). However, RER+ phenotype was not associated with tumor stage, histological grade, muscular invasion, lymph node metastasis or patient survival. In conclusion, MI occurs in a subset of endometrial cancers, which often show marked infiltration of lymphocytes around the tumor.