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1.  KRAS, EGFR, PDGFR-α, KIT and COX-2 status in carcinoma showing thymus-like elements (CASTLE) 
Diagnostic Pathology  2014;9:116.
Background
CASTLE (Carcinoma showing thymus-like elements) is a rare malignant neoplasm of the thyroid resembling lymphoepithelioma-like and squamous cell carcinoma of the thymus with different biological behaviour and a better prognosis than anaplastic carcinoma of the thyroid.
Methods
We retrospectively investigated 6 cases of this very rare neoplasm in order to investigate the mutational status of KRAS, EGFR, PDGFR-α and KIT, as well as the immunohistochemical expression pattern of CD117, EGFR and COX-2, and possibly find new therapeutic targets.
Results
Diagnosis was confirmed by a moderate to strong expression of CD5, CD117 and CK5/6, whereas thyroglobulin, calcitonin and TTF-1 were negative in all cases. Tumors were also positive for COX-2 and in nearly all cases for EGFR. In four cases single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) could be detected in exon 12 of the PDGFR-α gene (rs1873778), in three cases SNPs were found in exon 20 of the EGFR gene (rs1050171). No mutations were found in the KIT and KRAS gene.
Conclusions
All tumors showed a COX-2 expression as well as an EGFR expression except for one case and a wild-type KRAS status. No activating mutations in the EGFR, KIT and PDGFR-α gene could be detected. Our data may indicate a potential for targeted therapies, but if these therapeutic strategies are of benefit in CASTLE remains to be determined.
Virtual Slides
The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here: http://www.diagnosticpathology.diagnomx.eu/vs/1658499296115016
doi:10.1186/1746-1596-9-116
PMCID: PMC4078982  PMID: 24934485
CASTLE; Thymic carcinoma; Mutational analysis; Immunohistochemistry; Thyroid gland
2.  TERT promoter hotspot mutations are recurrent in myxoid liposarcomas but rare in other soft tissue sarcoma entities 
Background
Recently, recurrent point mutations in the telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) promoter region have been found in many human cancers, leading to a new transcription factor binding site, increased induction of TERT and subsequently to telomere maintenance. We determined the prevalence of TERT promoter mutations in soft tissue sarcomas of 341 patients comprising 16 entities and in 16 sarcoma cell lines covering 7 different soft tissue sarcoma types.
Methods
The sarcoma tissue samples were collected from the archives of the Institute of Pathology, University of Heidelberg and were composed of 39 myxoid liposarcomas (MLS), 61 dedifferentiated liposarcomas, 15 pleomorphic liposarcomas, 27 leiomyosarcomas, 25 synovial sarcomas (SS), 35 malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST), 40 undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcomas, 17 myxofibrosarcomas, 9 low grade fibromyxoid sarcomas, 10 cases of dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, 31 solitary fibrous tumors (SFT), 8 extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcomas, 9 angiosarcomas, 6 alveolar soft part sarcomas, 5 clear cell sarcomas and 4 epithelioid sarcomas. Sarcoma cell lines were obtained from the raising laboratories. A 193 bp fragment of the TERT promoter region covering the hot-spot mutations C228T and C250T was amplified, and direct sequencing of the PCR products was performed.
Results
TERT promoter mutations were detected in 36/341 sarcomas. They were highly recurrent in MLS (29/39; 74%) and were in the present MLS series not associated with the phenotype (myxoid vs. round cell variant), tumor grade, tumor site and patients’ median age or gender. In the remaining cases, TERT promoter mutations were found only in 7/302 sarcoma samples and confined to SFTs (4/31; 13%), MPNSTs (2/35; 6%), and SSs (1/25; 4%). Within the collection of sarcoma cell lines examined, TERT promoter mutations were detected in two MLS and in one of three MPNST cell lines.
Conclusions
TERT promoter mutations are frequent in MLSs including their round cell variants, representing the most prevalent mutation identified in this sarcoma entity to date, and in a minor fraction of SFTs, MPNSTs and SSs. The majority of sarcomas are devoid of TERT promoter hotspot mutations. These data suggest that telomere maintenance through increased expression of telomerase plays an important role in the pathogenesis especially of MLS.
doi:10.1186/1756-9966-33-33
PMCID: PMC4022359  PMID: 24726063
TERT; Promoter; Mutation; Soft tissue; Sarcoma; Myxoid liposarcoma; Solitary fibrous tumor
3.  Integrative DNA methylation and gene expression analysis in high-grade soft tissue sarcomas 
Genome Biology  2013;14(12):r137.
Background
High-grade soft tissue sarcomas are a heterogeneous, complex group of aggressive malignant tumors showing mesenchymal differentiation. Recently, soft tissue sarcomas have increasingly been classified on the basis of underlying genetic alterations; however, the role of aberrant DNA methylation in these tumors is not well understood and, consequently, the usefulness of methylation-based classification is unclear.
Results
We used the Infinium HumanMethylation27 platform to profile DNA methylation in 80 primary, untreated high-grade soft tissue sarcomas, representing eight relevant subtypes, two non-neoplastic fat samples and 14 representative sarcoma cell lines. The primary samples were partitioned into seven stable clusters. A classification algorithm identified 216 CpG sites, mapping to 246 genes, showing different degrees of DNA methylation between these seven groups. The differences between the clusters were best represented by a set of eight CpG sites located in the genes SPEG, NNAT, FBLN2, PYROXD2, ZNF217, COL14A1, DMRT2 and CDKN2A. By integrating DNA methylation and mRNA expression data, we identified 27 genes showing negative and three genes showing positive correlation. Compared with non-neoplastic fat, NNAT showed DNA hypomethylation and inverse gene expression in myxoid liposarcomas, and DNA hypermethylation and inverse gene expression in dedifferentiated and pleomorphic liposarcomas. Recovery of NNAT in a hypermethylated myxoid liposarcoma cell line decreased cell migration and viability.
Conclusions
Our analysis represents the first comprehensive integration of DNA methylation and transcriptional data in primary high-grade soft tissue sarcomas. We propose novel biomarkers and genes relevant for pathogenesis, including NNAT as a potential tumor suppressor in myxoid liposarcomas.
doi:10.1186/gb-2013-14-12-r137
PMCID: PMC4054884  PMID: 24345474
4.  Correction: Automated Universal BRAF State Detection within the Activation Segment in Skin Metastases by Pyrosequencing-Based Assay U-BRAFV600 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):10.1371/annotation/b31c5248-91ad-4668-930a-24543b19d6e7.
doi:10.1371/annotation/b31c5248-91ad-4668-930a-24543b19d6e7
PMCID: PMC3692735
5.  Automated Universal BRAF State Detection within the Activation Segment in Skin Metastases by Pyrosequencing-Based Assay U-BRAFV600 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59221.
Malignant melanoma is a highly-aggressive type of malignancy with considerable metastatic potential and frequent resistance to cytotoxic agents. BRAF mutant protein was recently recognized as therapeutic target in metastatic melanoma. We present a newly-developed U-BRAFV600 approach – a universal pyrosequencing-based assay for mutation detection within activation segment in exon 15 of human braf. We identified 5 different BRAF mutations in a single assay analyzing 75 different formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples of cutaneous melanoma metastases from 29 patients. We found BRAF mutations in 21 of 29 metastases. All mutant variants were quantitatively detectable by the newly-developed U-BRAFV600 assay. These results were confirmed by ultra-deep-sequencing validation (∼60,000-fold coverage). In contrast to all other BRAF state detection methods, the U-BRAFV600 assay is capable of automated quantitative identification of at least 36 previously-published BRAF mutations. Under the precaution of a minimum of 3% mutated cells in front of a background of wild type cells, U-BRAFV600 assay design completely excludes false wild-type results. The corresponding algorithm for classification of BRAF-mutated variants is provided. The single-reaction assay and data analysis automation makes our approach suitable for the assessment of large clinical sample sizes. Therefore, we suggest U-BRAFV600 assay as a most powerful sequencing-based diagnostic tool to automatically identify BRAF state as a prerequisite to targeted therapy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059221
PMCID: PMC3608589  PMID: 23555633
6.  Decentral gene expression analysis for ER+/Her2− breast cancer: results of a proficiency testing program for the EndoPredict assay 
Virchows Archiv  2012;460(3):251-259.
Gene expression profiles provide important information about the biology of breast tumors and can be used to develop prognostic tests. However, the implementation of quantitative RNA-based testing in routine molecular pathology has not been accomplished, so far. The EndoPredict assay has recently been described as a quantitative RT-PCR-based multigene expression test to identify a subgroup of hormone–receptor-positive tumors that have an excellent prognosis with endocrine therapy only. To transfer this test from bench to bedside, it is essential to evaluate the test–performance in a multicenter setting in different molecular pathology laboratories. In this study, we have evaluated the EndoPredict (EP) assay in seven different molecular pathology laboratories in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. A set of ten formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumors was tested in the different labs, and the variance and accuracy of the EndoPredict assays were determined using predefined reference values. Extraction of a sufficient amount of RNA and generation of a valid EP score was possible for all 70 study samples (100%). The EP scores measured by the individual participants showed an excellent correlation with the reference values, respectively, as reflected by Pearson correlation coefficients ranging from 0.987 to 0.999. The Pearson correlation coefficient of all values compared to the reference value was 0.994. All laboratories determined EP scores for all samples differing not more than 1.0 score units from the pre-defined references. All samples were assigned to the correct EP risk group, resulting in a sensitivity and specificity of 100%, a concordance of 100%, and a kappa of 1.0. Taken together, the EndoPredict test could be successfully implemented in all seven participating laboratories and is feasible for reliable decentralized assessment of gene expression in luminal breast cancer.
doi:10.1007/s00428-012-1204-4
PMCID: PMC3306560  PMID: 22371223
Breast cancer; Prognosis; mRNA; Quality control
7.  Pitfalls in mutational testing and reporting of common KIT and PDGFRA mutations in gastrointestinal stromal tumors 
BMC Medical Genetics  2010;11:106.
Background
Mutation analysis of KIT and PDGFRA genes in gastrointestinal stromal tumors is gaining increasing importance for prognosis of GISTs and for prediction of treatment response. Several groups have identified specific mutational subtypes in KIT exon 11 associated with an increased risk of metastatic disease whereas GISTs with PDGFRA mutations often behave less aggressive. Furthermore, in advanced GIST disease with proven KIT exon 9 mutation the doubled daily dose of 800 mg imatinib increases the progression free survival and is now recommended both in the European and the American Guidelines. In Germany, there are still no general rules how to perform mutational analysis.
Methods
When comparing results from six different molecular laboratories we recognized the need of standardisation. Six German university laboratories with experience in mutation analysis in GISTs joined together to develop recommendations for the mutation analysis of the most common and clinically relevant hot spots, i. e. KIT exons 9 and 11 and PDGFRA exon 18. We performed a three-phased interlaboratory trial to identify pitfalls in performing molecular analysis in GISTs.
Results
We developed a design for a continuous external laboratory trial. In 2009 this external trial was conducted by 19 laboratories via the initiative for quality assurance in pathology (QuiP) of the German Society of Pathology and the Professional Association of German Pathologists.
Conclusions
By performing a three-phased internal interlaboratory trial and conducting an external trial in Germany we were able to identify potential pitfalls when performing KIT and PDGFRA mutational analysis in gastrointestinal stromal tumors. We developed standard operation procedures which are provided with the manuscript to allow other laboratories to prevent these pitfalls.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-11-106
PMCID: PMC2910708  PMID: 20598160
8.  Elevated expression of c-kit in small venous malformations of blue rubber bleb nevus syndrome 
Rare Tumors  2010;2(2):e36.
The blue rubber bleb nevus syndrome (BRBNS, syn. bean syndrome) is a rare disease characterized by multiple cutaneous and gastrointestinal venous malformations associated with severe bleeding. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms are unknown and no targeted therapeutic approach exists to date. Here we report the case of a 19-year-old male patient with severe BRBNS in whom we analyzed the expression of tyrosine kinases frequently involved in tumor development by immunohistochemistry (vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2, stem cell growth factor receptor (c-kit), platelet-derived growth factor receptor-β, and stem cell tyrosine kinase-1). A prominent expression of c-kit was detectable in smaller blood vessels, which also showed a moderate expression of the proliferation marker MIB1. Surprisingly, other growth factor receptors stained negatively. We therefore conclude that pharmacological inhibition of the c-kit signaling pathway in cavernous hemangiomas by selective kinase inhibitors may offer options in the treatment of BRBNS patients.
doi:10.4081/rt.2010.e36
PMCID: PMC2994504  PMID: 21139838
hemangiomas; kinase inhibitors; therapy; tyrosine kinases

Results 1-8 (8)