Frequent allelic loss at 10q23 but low incidence of PTEN mutations in Merkel cell carcinoma
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Van Gele, M and Leonard, JH and Van Roy, N and Cook, AL and De Paepe, A and Speleman, F, Frequent allelic loss at 10q23 but low incidence of PTEN mutations in Merkel cell carcinoma, International Journal of Cancer, 92, (3) pp. 409-413. ISSN 1097-0215 (2001) [Refereed Article]
Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare, highly metastatic skin tumor of neuroectodermal origin. The disease shares clinical and histopathological features with small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC). The genetic mechanisms underlying the development and tumor progression of MCC are poorly understood. We recently showed by comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) that the pattern of chromosomal abnormalities in MCC resembles that of SCLC. One of the most frequently observed losses involved the entire chromosome 10 or partial loss of the chromosome 10 long arm (33% of examined MCC cases). The PTEN tumor-suppressor gene has been mapped to 10q23.3 and was shown to be mutated in a variety of human cancers including SCLC. Germline PTEN mutations have been observed in familial predisposing cancer syndromes including Cowden disease. Interestingly, an association between Cowden syndrome and Merkel cell carcinoma has been reported. To study the possible role of PTEN in MCC oncogenesis, loss of heterozygosity (LOH) analysis for the 10q23 region was performed on 26 MCC tumor samples from 23 MCC patients. The PTEN locus was deleted in 9 of 21 (43%) informative MCC tumor samples [7 of 18 (39%) MCC patients]. Despite this high frequency of LOH at 10q23, mutation and homozygous deletion screening of the PTEN gene revealed only one tumor with a nonsense mutation and a second with a homozygous deletion of exon 9. These data suggest that either alternative mechanisms lead to inactivation of the PTEN gene or that other tumor-suppressor genes at chromosome 10 are implicated in the development of MCC. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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