Meta-analysis of the molecular associations of mucinous colorectal cancer.

BACKGROUND: Mucinous differentiation occurs in 5-15 per cent of colorectal adenocarcinomas. This subtype of colorectal cancer responds poorly to chemoradiotherapy and has a worse prognosis. The genetic aetiology underpinning this cancer subtype lacks consensus. The aim of this study was to use meta-analytical techniques to clarify the molecular associations of mucinous colorectal cancer.

METHODS: This study adhered to MOOSE guidelines. Databases were searched for studies comparing KRAS, BRAF, microsatellite instability (MSI), CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP), p53 and p27 status between patients with mucinous and non-mucinous colorectal adenocarcinoma. A random-effects model was used for analysis.

RESULTS: Data from 46 studies describing 17 746 patients were included. Mucinous colorectal adenocarcinoma was associated positively with KRAS (odds ratio (OR) 1·46, 95 per cent c.i. 1·08 to 2·00, P = 0·014) and BRAF (OR 3·49, 2·50 to 4·87; P < 0·001) mutation, MSI (OR 3·98, 3·30 to 4·79; P < 0·001) and CIMP (OR 3·56, 2·85 to 4·43; P < 0·001), and negatively with altered p53 expression (OR 0·46, 0·31 to 0·67; P < 0·001).

CONCLUSION: The genetic origins of mucinous colorectal adenocarcinoma are predominantly associated with BRAF, MSI and CIMP pathways. This pattern of molecular alterations may in part explain the resistance to standard chemotherapy regimens seen in mucinous adenocarcinoma.