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BackgroundRSPO fusions that lead to WNT pathway activation are potential therapeutic targets in colorectal cancer (CRC), but their clinicopathological significance remains unclear.MethodsWe screened 1019 CRCs for RSPO fusions using multiplex reverse transcription-PCR. The RSPO fusion-positive tumours were subjected to whole-exome sequencing (WES).ResultsOur analysis identified 29 CRCs with RSPO fusions (2.8%), consisting of five with an EIF3E-RSPO2 fusion and 24 with PTPRK-RSPO3 fusions. The patients were 17 women and 12 men. Thirteen tumours (45%) were right-sided. Histologically, approximately half of the tumours (13/29, 45%) had a focal or extensive mucinous component that was significantly more frequent than the RSPO fusion-negative tumours (13%; P = 8.1 × 10-7). Four tumours (14%) were mismatch repair-deficient. WES identified KRAS, BRAF, and NRAS mutations in a total of 27 tumours (93%). In contrast, pathogenic mutations in major WNT pathway genes, such as APC, CTNNB1 and RNF43, were absent. RSPO fusion status did not have a statistically significant influence on the overall or recurrence-free survival. These clinicopathological and genetic features were also confirmed in a pooled analysis of previous studies.ConclusionRSPO fusion-positive CRCs constitute a rare subgroup of CRCs with several characteristic clinicopathological and genetic features.

Original publication




Journal article


British journal of cancer

Publication Date



Division of Diagnostic Pathology, National Cancer Center Hospital, Tokyo, Japan.