Background Colorectal cancer (CRC) can be classified into four consensus molecular subtypes (CMS) according to genomic aberrations and gene expression profiles. CMS is expected to be useful in predicting prognosis and selecting chemotherapy regimens. However, there are still no reports on the relationship between the morphology and CMS. Methods This retrospective study included 55 subjects with T2 CRC undergoing surgical resection, of whom 30 had the depressed type and 25 the protruded type. In the classification of the CMS, we first defined cases with deficient mismatch repair as CMS1. And then, CMS2/3 and CMS4 were classified using an online classifier developed by Trinh et al. The staining intensity of CDX2, HTR2B, FRMD6, ZEB1, and KER and the percentage contents of CDX2, FRMD6, and KER are input into the classifier to obtain automatic output classifying the specimen as CMS2/3 or CMS4. Results According to the results yielded by the online classifier, of the 30 depressed-type cases, 15 (50%) were classified as CMS2/3 and 15 (50%) as CMS4. Of the 25 protruded-type cases, 3 (12%) were classified as CMS1 and 22 (88%) as CMS2/3. All of the T2 CRCs classified as CMS4 were depressed CRCs. More malignant pathological findings such as lymphatic invasion were associated with the depressed rather than protruded T2 CRC cases. Conclusions Depressed-type T2 CRC had a significant association with CMS4, showing more malignant pathological findings such as lymphatic invasion than the protruded-type, which could explain the reported association between CMS4 CRC and poor prognosis.
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