Microsatellite instability in Thorotrast-induced human intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma

Duo Liu, Hirohito Momoi, Li Li, Yuichi Ishikawa, Manabu Fukumoto

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Thorotrast, a colloidal suspension of radioactive 232ThO2 that emits α particles, was used as a radiographic contrast during World War II. It is known to induce liver cancers, most frequently ICC, decades after injection. Since radiation induces genomic instability, we analyzed MSI in Thorotrast-induced ICC. The frequency of MSI+ cases was 62.5% in Thorotrast ICC, whereas it was 22.7% in non-Thorotrast ICC. However, frameshift mutations of mononucleotide repeats were not observed in Thorotrast ICC. In addition, the MSI+ phenotype was not associated with the quantity of Thorotrast deposited or the latency period of ICC induction. Promoter regions of both the hMLH1 and the hMSH2 MMR genes tended to be hypermethylated in the tumor part compared to the adjacent nontumor part in Thorotrast ICC. Methylation of the hMLH1 promoter was associated with the MSI+ phenotype in Thorotrast ICC. In contrast, methylation status of these promoter regions was not related to MSI in non-Thorotrast ICC cases. These findings suggest that MSI induced by exposure to Thorotrast mainly reflects clonal expansion of cancer cells and is partly due to inactivation of hMLHI by hypermethylation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-371
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Dec 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Cholangiocellular carcinoma
  • Microsatellite instability
  • Thorotrast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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