RepX represents a new informatics approach to probe the UniGene database for potentially polymorphic repeat sequences in the open reading frame (ORF) of genes, 56% of which were found to be actually polymorphic. We now have performed mutational analysis of 17 such sites in genes not found to be polymorphic (<0.03 frequency) in a large panel of human cancer genomic DNAs derived from 31 lung, 21 breast, seven ovarian, 21 (13 microsatellite instability (MSI)+ and eight MSI-) colorectal cancer cell lines. In the lung, breast and ovarian tumor DNAs we found no mutations (<0.03-0.04 rate of tumor associated open reading frame mutations) in these sequences. By contrast, 18 MSI+ colorectal cancers (13 cancer cell lines and five primary tumors) with mismatch repair defects exhibited six mutations in three of the 17 genes (SREBP-2, TAN-1, GR6) (P<0.000003 compared to all other cancers tested). We conclude that coding region microsatellite alterations are rare in lung, breast, ovarian carcinomas and MSI (-) colorectal cancers, but are relatively frequent in MSI (+) colorectal cancers with mismatch repair deficits.
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