Microsatellite Instability with BRAF V600E Associated with Delayed Presentation but Poor Survival in Stage III Colorectal Cancer

Author(s): Sophiya Karki, Weijing Sun, Rashna Madan, Kamal Lamsal, Sarah Schmitt, Andrew Godwin, Anup Kasi

Colorectal cancer (CRC) has tremendous molecular and genetic heterogeneity, making it a difficult cancer to treat. Two of the key prognostic indicators of CRC include microsatellite instability (MSI) and BRAF V600E mutation. Here, we performed a retrospective survival analysis on 145 stage II and III CRC patients treated at the University of Kansas Cancer Center between 2009 and 2020. Of the 145 patients, BRAF V600E was observed in 15% patients and MSI in 28% patients. Median survival was not reached for stage II. For stage III, patients with BRAF V600E showed poor overall survival, which worsened with concurrent presence of MSI [x2=6.4, p=0.01]. Eighty-five percent of this group was found to have right-sided CRC. For stage III, overall survival (OS) was 27 months, 37 months, 87 months and not reached for MSI-H/BRAF V600E, MSS/BRAF V600E, MSS/BRAF WT and MSI-H/BRAF WT, respectively. Although associated with poor prognosis, presence of MSI in BRAF V600E patients was associated with delayed disease presentation (mean age 77) compared to those with stable microsatellite (mean age 63) [p=0.01]. Although median survival between the groups could not be assessed for stage II due to very few deaths and/or inadequate length of study, comparison of survival trend suggests that BRAF V600E, rather than MSI, is what drives prognosis in stage II CRC. Our findings suggest that prognostic value of MSI is more relevant for stage III than stage II CRC. Patients with MSI-H and BRAF V600E have advantage of late presentation, although at the cost of poor overall prognosis.

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