Gene Summary

Gene:ACVRL1; activin A receptor like type 1
Aliases: HHT, ALK1, HHT2, ORW2, SKR3, ALK-1, TSR-I, ACVRLK1
Summary:This gene encodes a type I cell-surface receptor for the TGF-beta superfamily of ligands. It shares with other type I receptors a high degree of similarity in serine-threonine kinase subdomains, a glycine- and serine-rich region (called the GS domain) preceding the kinase domain, and a short C-terminal tail. The encoded protein, sometimes termed ALK1, shares similar domain structures with other closely related ALK or activin receptor-like kinase proteins that form a subfamily of receptor serine/threonine kinases. Mutations in this gene are associated with hemorrhagic telangiectasia type 2, also known as Rendu-Osler-Weber syndrome 2. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:serine/threonine-protein kinase receptor R3
Source:NCBIAccessed: 10 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 10 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

Tag cloud generated 10 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (6)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: ACVRL1 (cancer-related)

Sakr H, Cruise M, Chahal P, et al.
Anaplastic lymphoma kinase positive large B-cell lymphoma: Literature review and report of an endoscopic fine needle aspiration case with tigroid backgrounds mimicking seminoma.
Diagn Cytopathol. 2017; 45(2):148-155 [PubMed] Related Publications
Anaplastic lymphoma kinase-positive large B-cell lymphoma (ALK+ LBCL) is a rare distinct type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that arises in association with alterations of the ALK gene. This distinct disease entity is typically associated with an aggressive clinical course and appears in light microscopic preparations as a monomorphic population of large, immunoblast-like cells. In this report, we describe a case of ALK+ LBCL diagnosed by transgastric endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration (EUS FNA) of splenic hilar lymph nodes. Modified Giemsa stained direct smears from the FNA sample demonstrated large lesional cells with foamy cytoplasm and macronucleoli admixed with small lymphocytes in tigroid backgrounds, mimicking the cytologic appearance of seminoma. Ancillary immunohistochemical studies subsequently confirmed the diagnosis of ALK+ LBCL with the lesional cells being immunoreactive for CD138, VS38c, MUM1, ALK1, and lambda light chain. The cohesiveness of the cells, the cellular morphology, and the tigroid backgrounds were all pitfalls for accurate diagnosis of this rare specific type of lymphoid malignancy by cytology. To our knowledge this is the first case report detailing the diagnosis of ALK+ LBCL by EUS FNA and the first report describing a glycogen-rich tigroid background in direct FNA smears. Establishing a refined diagnosis in cases of this rare form of LBCL is necessary, as therapies targeting ALK may be of value in clinical management. Diagn. Cytopathol. 2017;45:148-155. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Taheri D, Zahavi DJ, Del Carmen Rodriguez M, et al.
For staining of ALK protein, the novel D5F3 antibody demonstrates superior overall performance in terms of intensity and extent of staining in comparison to the currently used ALK1 antibody.
Virchows Arch. 2016; 469(3):345-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
Inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor (IMT) is a rare neoplasm. Approximately 50 % of IMTs show an anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene fusion resulting in ALK overexpression on immunohistochemistry (IHC). A novel anti-ALK monoclonal antibody (D5F3) has been suggested to be of superior sensitivity to the ALK1 antibody which is currently used. We compared the performance of D5F3 in detecting ALK protein expression in IMTs from various anatomic sites compared to the currently utilized ALK1. We selected 25 IMTs from our surgical pathology files (2005-2015). The novel rabbit monoclonal anti-human CD246 (clone D5F3) and the currently used mouse monoclonal anti-human CD246 (clone ALK1) were used for immunohistochemical staining (IHC) in an automated slide stainer. The percentage of immunoreactive tumor cells (0, <5 %, 5-50 %, >50 %) and cytoplasmic staining intensity (graded 0-3) were assessed and compared between the two antibodies. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) studies for ALK gene rearrangement were performed on 11 tumors. D5F3 antibody stained 76 % and ALK1 antibody stained 72 % of IMTs (p = 0.747). Compared to staining with ALK1, D5F3 stained a higher proportion of cases extensively (>50 % cells) (76 vs. 28 %, p < 0.001) and with high intensity (grade 3 76 % vs 0; p < 0.001). FISH and IHC findings (for both antibodies) were concordant in 9/10 (90 %) IMTs, in which results were informative. The novel anti-ALK rabbit monoclonal antibody (D5F3 clone) demonstrates superior overall performance in term of intensity and extent of staining of ALK protein in IMT. We found IHC staining with both antibody clones to correlate equally well with FISH results for detection of ALK rearrangement.

Geng S, Yao H, Weng J, et al.
Effects of the combination of decitabine and homoharringtonine in SKM-1 and Kg-1a cells.
Leuk Res. 2016; 44:17-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
The methylation inhibitor decitabine (DAC) has great therapeutic value for myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). However, DAC monotherapy is associated with relatively low rates of overall response and complete remission. Previous studies have shown promising results for combination treatment regimens including DAC. Homoharringtonine (HHT), an alkaloid from Chinese natural plants and Cephalotaxus, has demonstrated potential for leukemia treatment. Our studies have suggested that the combination of DAC and HHT has synergistic effects for inhibiting the viability of SKM-1 and Kg-1a cells. This combination leads to enhanced inhibition of colony formation and apoptosis induction compared with DAC alone in SKM-1 but not Kg-1a cells. Only high-dose DAC and HHT significantly up-regulate caspase-3 and caspase-9 and inhibit BCL-XL in the SKM-1 cell line. The combined effects of DAC plus HHT on apoptosis may not only depend on regulation of the apoptosis-related genes we examined but others as well. HHT had no demethylation effects, and HHT in combination with DAC had no enhanced effects on hypomethylation and DNMT1, DNMT3A and DNMT3B mRNA expression in SKM-1 cells. Overall, these results suggest that DAC used in combination with HHT may have clinical potential for MDS treatment.

Jiang L, Yang H, He P, et al.
Improving Selection Criteria for ALK Inhibitor Therapy in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: A Pooled-Data Analysis on Diagnostic Operating Characteristics of Immunohistochemistry.
Am J Surg Pathol. 2016; 40(5):697-703 [PubMed] Related Publications
Lung cancer is often diagnosed by molecular markers for prediction and treatment. To date, the golden standard for detection of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) rearrangements is fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). We performed a pooled-data analysis on the diagnostic operating characteristics of immunohistochemistry (IHC) assay on non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We searched Embase, Pubmed, and Springer databases. The results of IHC were evaluated using a modified H-score. We used a 2-level bivariate meta-analysis following a random effect model to summarize sensitivity and specificity and fit hierarchical summary receiver-operating characteristic curves. We also performed sensitivity analysis using different antibodies to investigate potential heterogeneity. Twelve studies consisting of a total of 3754 NSCLC specimens were analyzed. When we defined 1+/2+/3+, 2+/3+, and 3+ as ALK positive, we found the sensitivities to be 99% (95% confidence interval [CI], 97%-100%), 86% (95% CI, 73%-93%), and 56% (95% CI, 36%-74%) and the specificities to be 98% (95% CI, 95%-99%), 99% (95% CI, 99%-100%), and 100% (95% CI, 100%-100%), respectively. We demonstrated that when defining 3+ as positive and 0 as negative the sensitivity was 99% and specificity was 100%. In our sensitivity analysis, we found the sensitivity of D5F3 and 5A4 antibodies to be much higher than that of ALK1. We concluded that IHC scores 0 and 3+ were nearly 100% concordant with FISH-negative and FISH-positive status, respectively. However, IHC scores 1+ and 2+ might require further confirmatory testing by FISH assay. IHC assay using D5F3 and 5A4 antibodies reliably detected NSCLC with ALK rearrangement and may be useful as a screening method to identify these tumors.

Mlika M, Laabidi S, Afrit M, et al.
Genomic classification of lung cancer: toward a personalized treatment.
Tunis Med. 2015; 93(6):339-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
Lung cancer is the first cause of death by cancer worldwide. In Tunisia, its incidence has increased from 17.6 cases per 100.000 persons in 1997 to 27.6 cases per 100.000 persons in 2003. Its prognosis has been improving thanks to the emergence of molecular targets. The first one is represented by EGFR (Epidermal growth factor receptor), which marks this (2014) its tenth anniversary. many other targets have been identified. the most famous and useful of them the fusion gene ALK-EML4 but other oncogenic pathways have been implicated and under investigations including HER2, BRAF, MET, RET... The relevant challenges encountered are represented by the difficulty to achieve a consensual decisional and therapeutic algorithm, the absence of standardized diagnostic techniques and unavoidable occurrence of secondary resistance due to the activation of other oncogenic pathways that must be explored and targeted. In this update, we tried to present the major pathways implicated and the most relevant practice routine strategies.

Sethi B, Pai T, Allam A, Epari S
Anaplastic lymphoma kinase-positive pulmonary inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor with sarcomatous morphology and distant metastases: An unusual histomorphology and behavior.
Indian J Pathol Microbiol. 2015 Oct-Dec; 58(4):509-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
Inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor (IMT), an intermediate-grade neoplasm of myofibroblastic/fibroblastic differentiation, occurs commonly in children and young adults. It is characterized by anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene rearrangement and overexpression of ALK-protein. However, aggressive behavior is more commonly associated with ALK-negativity rather than ALK-positivity. Pulmonary involvement is most common visceral location and carries minimal potential for distant metastasis. We present a case of 49-year-old female with pulmonary IMT of spindle cell sarcomatous histomorphology. Frequent mitoses and necrosis with characteristic cytoplasmic immunoreactivity for ALK-1 protein and ALK-gene rearrangement on fluorescence in-situ hybridization were noted. This case is unusual for occurrence in higher age-group of fifth decade, sarcomatous histomorphology at presentation (rather than transformation) and metastases to distant sites despite ALK-protein overexpression and gene rearrangement.

Klanova M, Andera L, Brazina J, et al.
Targeting of BCL2 Family Proteins with ABT-199 and Homoharringtonine Reveals BCL2- and MCL1-Dependent Subgroups of Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma.
Clin Cancer Res. 2016; 22(5):1138-49 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To investigate the roles of BCL2, MCL1, and BCL-XL in the survival of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGNS: Immunohistochemical analysis of 105 primary DLBCL samples, and Western blot analysis of 18 DLBCL cell lines for the expression of BCL2, MCL1, and BCL-XL. Pharmacologic targeting of BCL2, MCL1, and BCL-XL with ABT-199, homoharringtonine (HHT), and ABT-737. Analysis of DLBCL clones with manipulated expressions of BCL2, MCL1, and BCL-XL. Immunoprecipitation of MCL1 complexes in selected DLBCL cell lines. Experimental therapy aimed at inhibition of BCL2 and MCL1 using ABT-199 and HHT, single agent, or in combination, in vitro and in vivo on primary cell-based murine xenograft models of DLBCL.
RESULTS: By the pharmacologic targeting of BCL2, MCL1, and BCL-XL, we demonstrated that DLBCL can be divided into BCL2-dependent and MCL1-dependent subgroups with a less pronounced role left for BCL-XL. Derived DLBCL clones with manipulated expressions of BCL2, MCL1, and BCL-XL, as well as the immunoprecipitation experiments, which analyzed MCL1 protein complexes, confirmed these findings at the molecular level. We demonstrated that concurrent inhibition of BCL2 and MCL1 with ABT-199 and HHT induced significant synthetic lethality in most BCL2-expressing DLBCL cell lines. The marked cytotoxic synergy between ABT-199 and HHT was also confirmed in vivo using primary cell-based murine xenograft models of DLBCL.
CONCLUSIONS: As homoharringtonine is a clinically approved antileukemia drug, and ABT-199 is in advanced phases of diverse clinical trials, our data might have direct implications for novel concepts of early clinical trials in patients with aggressive DLBCL.

Sridevi HB, Shanthala PR, Raghuveer CV, et al.
A rare case of ALK negative CD30+ primary cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphoma in a young adult.
J Cancer Res Ther. 2015 Jul-Sep; 11(3):656 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphoma can present either as a primary disease or as secondary to a pre-existing systemic anaplastic lymphoma. Distinguishing primary cutaneous anaplastic lymphoma (PC-ALCL) from its systemic counterpart requires a complete clinical and laboratory workup. We hereby report a case of PC-ALCL in a young adult, who presented with unusual rapidly progressive ulcerated mass in the neck. Biopsy showed anaplastic large cells, which were strongly positive for CD30 and CD25 but ALK1 gene product was negative. Clinical examination and computed tomography (CT) scan ruled out extracutaneous involvement. Chemotherapy with 6 cycles of CHOP regimen was planned and on follow-up, a complete remission of the lesion was attained.

Wolff NC, Pavía-Jiménez A, Tcheuyap VT, et al.
High-throughput simultaneous screen and counterscreen identifies homoharringtonine as synthetic lethal with von Hippel-Lindau loss in renal cell carcinoma.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(19):16951-62 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) accounts for 85% of primary renal neoplasms, and is rarely curable when metastatic. Approximately 70% of RCCs are clear-cell type (ccRCC), and in >80% the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) gene is mutated or silenced. We developed a novel, high-content, screening strategy for the identification of small molecules that are synthetic lethal with genes mutated in cancer. In this strategy, the screen and counterscreen are conducted simultaneously by differentially labeling mutant and reconstituted isogenic tumor cell line pairs with different fluorochromes and using a highly sensitive high-throughput imaging-based platform. This approach minimizes confounding factors from sequential screening, and more accurately replicates the in vivo cancer setting where cancer cells are adjacent to normal cells. A screen of ~12,800 small molecules identified homoharringtonine (HHT), an FDA-approved drug for treating chronic myeloid leukemia, as a VHL-synthetic lethal agent in ccRCC. HHT induced apoptosis in VHL-mutant, but not VHL-reconstituted, ccRCC cells, and inhibited tumor growth in 30% of VHL-mutant patient-derived ccRCC tumorgraft lines tested. Building on a novel screening strategy and utilizing a validated RCC tumorgraft model recapitulating the genetics and drug responsiveness of human RCC, these studies identify HHT as a potential therapeutic agent for a subset of VHL-deficient ccRCCs.

Cao W, Liu Y, Zhang R, et al.
Homoharringtonine induces apoptosis and inhibits STAT3 via IL-6/JAK1/STAT3 signal pathway in Gefitinib-resistant lung cancer cells.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:8477 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) are mostly used in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treatment. Unfortunately, treatment with Gefitinib for a period of time will result in drug resistance and cause treatment failure in clinic. Therefore, exploring novel compounds to overcome this resistance is urgently required. Here we investigated the antitumor effect of homoharringtonine (HHT), a natural compound extracted from Cephalotaxus harringtonia, on Gefitinib-resistant NSCLC cell lines in vitro and in vivo. NCI-H1975 cells with EGFR T790M mutation are more sensitive to HHT treatment compared with that of A549 cells with wild type EGFR. HHT inhibited cells growth, cell viability and colony formation, as well as induced cell apoptosis through mitochondria pathway. Furthermore, we explored the mechanism of HHT inhibition on NSCLC cells. Higher level of interleukin-6 (IL-6) existed in lung cancer patients and mutant EGFR and TGFβ signal requires the upregulation of IL-6 through the gp130/JAK pathway to overactive STAT3, an oncogenic protein which has been considered as a potential target for cancer therapy. HHT reversiblely inhibited IL-6-induced STAT3 Tyrosine 705 phosphorylation and reduced anti-apoptotic proteins expression. Gefitinib-resistant NSCLC xenograft tests also confirmed the antitumor effect of HHT in vivo. Consequently, HHT has the potential in Gefitinib-resistant NSCLC treatment.

Elyamany G, Alzahrani AM, Aljuboury M, et al.
Clinicopathologic features of plasmablastic lymphoma: Single-center series of 8 cases from Saudi Arabia.
Diagn Pathol. 2015; 10:78 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Plasmablastic lymphoma (PBL) is a rare subtype of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Characterized by its aggressive nature and plasmacytic differentiation, PBL remains a therapeutic and diagnostic challenge; it generally has a poor prognosis with very few long-term survivors and most patients dying within 2 years from initial presentation. PBL has been reported in several other countries; however, there have been no reported cases from Saudi Arabia. Here, we report 8 cases of PBL depicting the clinical presentation, immunocompetency, immunphenotypic characterization, diagnostic challenges and treatment outcome.
METHODS: The medical records were reviewed for clinical presentation, staging, laboratory data, radiological studies, treatments, and outcomes. A broad immunohistochemical panel consisting of CD45, CD3, CD20, CD79a, Pax5, CD38, CD138, MUM1, EMA, Kappa, Lambda, CD 56, CD30, Bcl-2, Bcl-6, Alk-1, Ki-67, EBV-LMP-1, and HHV8 was performed.
RESULTS: The tumors predominantly exhibited immunoblastic/plasmablastic or plasmacytic morphologic features and had a plasma cell-like immunophenotype. All cases were immunoreactive for CD38, CD138 and MUM1 confirming plasma cell differentiation of the tumor cells. CD20 was negative for all cases; whereas CD79a and Pax5 were weakly positive in 2cases. All 8 cases were EBV-LMP-1/EBER-1 negative, and 1 case was HHV8 positive. Similar to previously published studies, PBL in Saudi Arabia is characterized by male predominance (6/8), median age 51.5 years (mean age 46 years), associated with early dissemination, poor response to therapy, and limited survival (average survival time, 6.4 months, median overall survival 5.5 months). However, it does have some unique features. It occurs more commonly in immunocompetent persons (6/8, 75%), is not associated with EBV infection (0/8), and nodal involvement (either primary or secondary) is common among patients (6/8). In addition, extra-oral sites are more common than oral/nasal cavities (7/8) and the c-myc gene is not common (1/8, 12.5%).
CONCLUSION: It appears that PBL is heterogeneous in terms of clinical presentation and morphology. PBL is a therapeutic challenge with a clinical course that is characterized by its high rate of relapse and death. To date, treatment responses are usually partial and temporary. Therapies that are more intensive than CHOP do not seem to prolong survival. Further research is needed to understand the biology and molecular pathogenesis of PBL in order to improve therapies.
VIRTUAL SLIDES: The virtual slides for this article can be found here:

Cunha SI, Bocci M, Lövrot J, et al.
Endothelial ALK1 Is a Therapeutic Target to Block Metastatic Dissemination of Breast Cancer.
Cancer Res. 2015; 75(12):2445-56 [PubMed] Related Publications
Exploration of new strategies for the prevention of breast cancer metastasis is justifiably at the center of clinical attention. In this study, we combined a computational biology approach with mechanism-based preclinical trials to identify inhibitors of activin-like receptor kinase (ALK) 1 as effective agents for blocking angiogenesis and metastasis in breast cancer. Pharmacologic targeting of ALK1 provided long-term therapeutic benefit in mouse models of mammary carcinoma, accompanied by strikingly reduced metastatic colonization as a monotherapy or part of combinations with chemotherapy. Gene-expression analysis of breast cancer specimens from a population-based nested case-control study encompassing 768 subjects defined endothelial expression of ALK1 as an independent and highly specific prognostic factor for metastatic manifestation, a finding that was corroborated in an independent clinical cohort. Overall, our results suggest that pharmacologic inhibition of endothelial ALK1 constitutes a tractable strategy for interfering with metastatic dissemination of breast cancer.

Subbiah V, McMahon C, Patel S, et al.
STUMP un"stumped": anti-tumor response to anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitor based targeted therapy in uterine inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor with myxoid features harboring DCTN1-ALK fusion.
J Hematol Oncol. 2015; 8:66 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Recurrent, metastatic mesenchymal myxoid tumors of the gynecologic tract present a management challenge as there is minimal evidence to guide systemic therapy. Such tumors also present a diagnostic dilemma, as myxoid features are observed in leiomyosarcomas, inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors (IMT), and mesenchymal myxoid tumors. Comprehensive genomic profiling was performed in the course of clinical care on a case of a recurrent, metastatic myxoid uterine malignancy (initially diagnosed as smooth muscle tumor of uncertain malignant potential (STUMP)), to guide identify targeted therapeutic options. To our knowledge, this case represents the first report of clinical response to targeted therapy in a tumor harboring a DCTN1-ALK fusion protein.
METHODS: Hybridization capture of 315 cancer-related genes plus introns from 28 genes often rearranged or altered in cancer was applied to >50 ng of DNA extracted from this sample and sequenced to high, uniform coverage. Therapy was given in the context of a phase I clinical trial Identifier: ( NCT01548144 ).
RESULTS: Immunostains showed diffuse positivity for ALK1 expression and comprehensive genomic profiling identified an in frame DCTN1-ALK gene fusion. The diagnosis of STUMP was revised to that of an IMT with myxoid features. The patient was enrolled in a clinical trial and treated with an anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitor (crizotinib/Xalkori®) and a multikinase VEGF inhibitor (pazopanib/Votrient®). The patient experienced an ongoing partial response (6+ months) by response evaluation criteria in solid tumors (RECIST) 1.1 criteria.
CONCLUSIONS: For myxoid tumors of the gynecologic tract, comprehensive genomic profiling can identify clinical relevant genomic alterations that both direct treatment targeted therapy and help discriminate between similar diagnostic entities.

Collin M, Charles A, Barker A, et al.
Inflammatory myofibroblastic tumour of the bladder in children: a review.
J Pediatr Urol. 2015; 11(5):239-45 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Inflammatory myofibroblastic tumours of the bladder (IMTB) are rare, and feature a benign and reactive proliferation of myofibroblasts. 25% of the reported IMTB cases in the literature occur in children. The present study presents a review of IMTB in children.
DISCUSSION: The data from 42 reported cases of paediatric IMTB in the world literature are summarised, including two recent cases from the present centre. Paediatric IMTB equally affects males and females. It mainly presents with haematuria, dysuria or abdominal pain. Lesions can vary in size, but mean size is 5.5 cm. Mean age is 7.5 years. The aetiology of IMTB is poorly understood, but includes infective or traumatic aetiologies, or a possible clonal lesion. IMTB may specifically show clonal gene rearrangements involving the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK-1) gene. To differentiate IMTB from rhabdomyosarcoma, tissue diagnosis and careful histological analysis are essential. Tumour biopsy can be achieved by a transurethral approach or a transcutaneous approach with ultrasound guidance. Between 35 and 89% of cases of IMTB express ALK-1 by immunohistochemistry. ALK-1 expression is much less common in other bladder soft tissue tumours. ALK-1 is thus useful in the diagnosis of IMTB. The treatment of choice for IMTB is complete surgical resection of the lesion. In children, no proven recurrent or metastatic IMTB episodes are reported after excision. However IMTB recurrences are reported in adults, likely due to incomplete excision. Follow-up after excision is therefore recommended.
CONCLUSIONS: Paediatric IMTB is uncommon. Tissue biopsy is essential for diagnosis. Careful histological assessment is required to differentiate IMTB from malignant paediatric bladder tumours such as rhabdomyosarcoma. ALK-1 expression is useful in confirming the diagnosis of IMTB. Treatment of choice is complete surgical resection of the lesion. Recurrence is reported in adult IMTB. Follow-up is therefore recommended.

Bonzheim I, Steinhilber J, Fend F, et al.
ALK-positive anaplastic large cell lymphoma: an evolving story.
Front Biosci (Schol Ed). 2015; 7:248-59 [PubMed] Related Publications
The current classification of lymphoid neoplasms is based on the integrated utilisation of morphological, immunohistochemical, genetic and clinical criteria to define disease entities. Anaplastic large cell lymphoma is a paradigm for the identification of a disease entity based on morphological observations and immunophenotype, which paved the way for the subsequent discovery of the characteristic cytogenetic abnormality the translocation t(2;5)(p23;q35). In 1994, the t(2;5) was cloned and the NPM-ALK fusion gene generated by this rearrangement was identified. The year 2014 marked the 20th anniversary of this seminal publication by Steve Morris et al. The discovery of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) has allowed the definition of a distinct entity within the clinically and pathologically heterogeneous group of CD30+ lymphomas. The diagnosis of ALK-positive ALCL has become straightforward due to the generation of the reliable monoclonal antibody ALK-1 that also has led to the recognition of the histologic spectrum of the disease. ALK-positive ALCL has evolved in the last 20 years to an exciting model for signal transduction studies and targeted therapy.

Rogers TM, Russell PA, Wright G, et al.
Comparison of methods in the detection of ALK and ROS1 rearrangements in lung cancer.
J Thorac Oncol. 2015; 10(4):611-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: The use of targeted therapies toward specific oncogenic driver mutations has become a critical factor in the treatment of patients with lung cancer. It is therefore essential to utilize tests with high performance characteristics. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) is the standard method for detecting anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) and ROS1 rearrangements in non-small-cell lung cancer but the utility of other methods such as immunohistochemistry (IHC) and chromogenic in situ hybridization (CISH) is unclear.
METHODS: Three hundred and sixty-two lung cancer patients were tested with FISH, CISH, and IHC using three ALK antibodies (ALK1, 5A4, D5F3) and one ROS1 antibody in the detection of ALK and ROS1 rearrangements.
RESULTS: There was a 97.4% concordance (298 of 306) between FISH and CISH for detection of ALK rearrangements. The ROS1 rearrangement status had a 97% (291 of 300) concordance between CISH and FISH. ALK protein expression was observed in 6 of 341 samples with the ALK1 and 5A4 antibodies and 5 of 341 samples with D5F3. All three antibodies stained each of the ALK FISH-positive samples (100% sensitivity). ROS1 protein expression was observed in 2 of 322 samples. One of three samples with a ROS1 rearrangement by FISH showed ROS1 protein expression (33.3% sensitivity).
CONCLUSION: Our findings show good correlation between FISH versus CISH in the detection of ALK and ROS1 rearrangements. FISH versus IHC showed good correlation in the detection of ALK rearrangements but showed weak correlation in the detection of ROS1 rearrangements. These results suggest CISH and IHC could be complimentary detection methods to FISH in the detection of ALK and ROS1 rearrangements.

Yu G, Gao Z, Huang X
ALK-positive anaplastic large cell lymphoma with an unusual alveolar growth pattern.
Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2014; 7(12):9086-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) possesses a broad morphological spectrum. Currently, we present a case of ALK-positive ALCL presenting with an alveolar growth pattern in a 22-year-old Chinese female. This patient complained of a progressively enlarged mass in the right axillary region for 6 months. Excisional biopsy revealed a well-developed alveolar structure with nests of dyscohesive tumor cells separated by delicate fibrovascular septae. The large pleomorphic cells have irregular nuclei with prominent nucleoli and fine chromatin and abundant pale cytoplasm. The neoplasm stained positively for CD2, CD3ε, CD30, ALK1, EMA and cytotoxic molecules (TIA1 and Granzyme B). Cytogenetic study via interphase Fluorescence in-Situ Hybridization disclosed the rearrangement involving ALK gene. The patient received 6 cycles of CHOP chemotherapy and achieved complete remission. She is alive in good condition up to the present. Our case is biologically similar to the conventional ALK-positive ALCLs and may just represent an unusual morphological appearance.

Pulitzer M, Ogunrinade O, Lin O, Steinherz P
ALK-positive (2p23 rearranged) anaplastic large cell lymphoma with localization to the skin in a pediatric patient.
J Cutan Pathol. 2015; 42(3):182-7 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) either as primary cutaneous or nodal disease is rare in children and difficult to distinguish, which is important both prognostically and for treatment purposes. We present a case of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)+ skin-limited ALCL that highlights this challenge and draws attention to pitfalls in assessing ALK status. The patient was an 11-year old girl with a twice recurrent nodule on her right shoulder. Each biopsy revealed a deep infiltrate of atypical lymphocytes that expressed CD3, CD4, CD43, CD45RO and CD30. The initial biopsy was epithelial membrane antigen (EMA)+ with vague cytoplasmic ALK-1 positivity by immunohistochemistry, while the second biopsy was EMA+ and nuclear ALK-1+. Fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis for an ALK (2p23) rearrangement of the first specimen was negative, while an ALK gene rearrangement was present in the second specimen. Therefore, this case was treated as nodal ALCL, despite negative bone marrow and radiographic imaging studies. The patient was treated with combination chemotherapy and remains disease-free. Demonstration of nuclear ALK-positivity, ALK (2p23) gene rearrangement is suggestive of systemic ALCL. Without evidence of systemic disease, this case highlights challenges of skin-limited ALCL, whose clinical behavior as either cutaneous ALCL systemic ALCL may not be immediately apparent.

Jonker L
TGF-β & BMP receptors endoglin and ALK1: overview of their functional role and status as antiangiogenic targets.
Microcirculation. 2014; 21(2):93-103 [PubMed] Related Publications
The formation of new blood vessels from existing vasculature, angiogenesis, is facilitated through a host of different signaling processes. Members of the TGF-β superfamily, TGF-β1, TGF-β3, and BMP9, are key propagators of both inhibition and initiation of angiogenesis. HHT, characterized by AVM and capillary bed defects, is caused by germline mutations in the ENG and ACVRL1/ALK1 genes, respectively. Clinical symptoms include epistaxis and GI hemorrhage. The membranous receptors endoglin and ALK1 activate proliferation and migration of endothelial cells during the angiogenic process via the downstream intracellular SMAD signaling pathway. Endothelial cell senescence or activation is dependent on the type of cytokine, ligand concentration, cell-cell interaction, and a multitude of other signaling molecules. Endoglin and ALK1 receptor levels in tumor vasculature correlate inversely with prognosis in humans, whereas in mice, endoglin deficiency decelerates tumor progression. Therefore, endoglin and ALK1 have been identified as potential therapeutic targets for antibody treatment in various cancers. Early phase clinical trials in humans are currently underway to evaluate the efficacy and safety of biological therapy targeting endoglin/ALK1-mediated cells signaling.

Demidova I, Barinov A, Savelov N, et al.
Immunohistochemistry, fluorescence in situ hybridization, and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction for the detection of anaplastic lymphoma kinase gene rearrangements in patients with non-small cell lung cancer: potential advantages and methodologic pitfalls.
Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2014; 138(6):794-802 [PubMed] Related Publications
CONTEXT: Echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4 gene (EML4) and anaplastic lymphoma kinase gene (ALK) fusion was shown to be the driver of tumorigenesis in approximately 3% to 5% of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and is associated with response to inhibition with crizotinib. However, no complete agreement regarding the best diagnostic test for identification of ALK rearrangements has been achieved yet.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the concordance, sensitivity, and specificity of immunohistochemistry (IHC), fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for detection of ALK rearrangements.
DESIGN: Thirty-six prospectively tested patients with NSCLC who had adenocarcinoma and 10 ALK-positive samples were included in the study. All samples were tested by IHC (ALK1 clone, 5A4 clone, D5F3 clone), FISH (LSI ALK Break Apart and ALK FISH Probe), and multiplexed RT-PCR.
RESULTS: Immunohistochemistry staining was successful in all samples.. Clone D5F3 showed the best sensitivity and specificity of 100%; clones ALK1 and 5A4 showed sensitivities of 91% with specificity of 100%. Both FISH probes showed concordance with sensitivity and specificity of 100%. Hybridization and RT-PCR were successful in 98% and 93.4% of samples, respectively, with sensitivity of 88% and specificity of 100%. Frequent artifacts leading to misinterpretation were observed with all 3 methodologies.
CONCLUSIONS: All 3 methodologies showed good sensitivity, specificity, and concordance, when artifacts were characterized and excluded. However, all ambiguous cases have to be confirmed as ALK rearranged by at least 2 of the 3 methods.

Le Quesne J, Maurya M, Yancheva SG, et al.
A comparison of immunohistochemical assays and FISH in detecting the ALK translocation in diagnostic histological and cytological lung tumor material.
J Thorac Oncol. 2014; 9(6):769-74 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Detection of the ALK rearrangement in a solid tumor gives these patients the option of crizotinib as an oral form of anticancer treatment. The current test of choice is fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), but various cheaper and more convenient immunohistochemical (IHC) assays have been proposed as alternatives.
METHODS: Fifteen FISH-positive cases from patients, seven with data on crizotinib therapy and clinical response, were evaluated for the presence of ALK protein using three different commercially available antibodies: D5F3, using the proprietary automated system (Ventana), ALK1 (Dako), and 5A4 (Abcam). A further 14 FISH-negative and three uncertain (<15% rearrangement detected) cases were also retrieved. Of the total 32 specimens, 17 were excisions and 15 were computed tomography-guided biopsies or cytological specimens. All three antibodies were applied to all cases. Antibodies were semiquantitatively scored on intensity, and the proportion of malignant cells stained was documented. Cutoffs were set by receiver operating curve analysis for positivity to optimize correct classification.
RESULTS: All three IHC assays were 100% specific but sensitivity did vary: D5F3 86%, ALK 79%, 5A4 71%. Intensity was the most discriminating measure overall, with a combination of proportion and intensity not improving the test. No FISH-negative IHC-positive cases were seen. Two FISH-positive cases were negative with all three IHC assays. One of these had been treated with crizotinib and had failed to show clinical response. The other harbored a second driving mutation in the EGFR gene.
CONCLUSIONS: IHC with all three antibodies is especially highly specific (100%) although variably sensitive (71%-86%), specifically in cases with scanty material. D5F3 assay was most sensitive in these latter cases. Occasional cases are IHC-positive but FISH-negative, suggesting either inaccuracy of one assay or occasional tumors with ALK rearrangement that do not express high levels of ALK protein.

Szablewski V, Laurent-Roussel S, Rethers L, et al.
Atypical fibrous histiocytoma of the skin with CD30 and p80/ALK1 positivity and ALK gene rearrangement.
J Cutan Pathol. 2014; 41(9):715-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
We report the case of a two patients who presented with a solitary, asymptomatic, angiomatoid nodule on the right thigh. Histopathological finding showed a poorly circumscribed lesion, located in the dermis. The morphological aspect strongly suggested the diagnosis of atypical fibrous histiocytoma (AFH), but surprisingly, the neoplastic cells were diffusely CD30+, with a membrane staining devoid of paranuclear dot. The lesions were tested for p80/ALK1 expression. Surprisingly, we found a diffuse cytoplasmic positivity. Interestingly, using break-apart fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH), we evidenced an ALK rearrangement in nearly 50% of the neoplastic cells. The expression of CD30 and ALK1 with ALK gene rearrangement raised the possibility of three diagnoses: a primary cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a cutaneous inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor (IMT), an AFH of the skin associated with ALK gene rearrangement and CD30 positivity. The three hypotheses were discussed and finally, although p80/ALK1 expression and cytogenetic abnormalities in fibrous histiocytoma (FH) are not yet reported to the best of our knowledge, we favored the diagnosis of AFH.

Hutarew G, Hauser-Kronberger C, Strasser F, et al.
Immunohistochemistry as a screening tool for ALK rearrangement in NSCLC: evaluation of five different ALK antibody clones and ALK FISH.
Histopathology. 2014; 65(3):398-407 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIMS: ALK FISH analysis is used as the reference standard to demonstrate ALK rearrangements, which qualify patients with pulmonary adenocarcinomas for therapy with ALK inhibitors. The aim of this study was to find screening ALK antibody clones with the best positive and best negative percentage agreement with ALK FISH.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Three hundred and three pulmonary adenocarcinomas were evaluated with ALK FISH and stained with five ALK antibody clones (5A4; D5F3; ALK1; ALK01; SP8) with standardized detection systems. D5F3 was additionally assessed using the OptiView enhanced detection and amplification system. ALK FISH found 14 cases (4.6%) that harboured ALK rearrangements. These stained at all intensities for D5F3 and 5A4. To identify rearranged cases among stained cases, we subsequently analysed all immunohistochemically positive cases with ALK FISH.
CONCLUSIONS: D5F3 with OptiView exclusively stained rearranged cases with strong intensity, without a single false-positive or false-negative case. The number of subsequent ALK FISH analyses required would have decreased from 303 to 14 cases (-95.4%), reducing significantly the time, work and costs without any loss of diagnostic quality and accuracy.

Mackinnon AC, Luevano A, de Araujo LC, et al.
Cribriform adenocarcinoma of the lung: clinicopathologic, immunohistochemical, and molecular analysis of 15 cases of a distinctive morphologic subtype of lung adenocarcinoma.
Mod Pathol. 2014; 27(8):1063-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
Lung adenocarcinoma is characterized by marked heterogeneity and may be composed of an admixture of histologic growth patterns, including acinar, papillary, solid, and lepidic (bronchioloalveolar). Tumors displaying a prominent or predominant cribriform architecture are rare and most often confused for metastases from other organs. We report the clinical, histologic, immunohistochemical, and molecular features in 15 primary lung adenocarcinomas with a predominant cribriform histology. All patients were adults between 30 and 80 years of age (median: 64), and all but one reported a history of heavy cigarette smoking. All cases showed a predominant (>70%) cribriform architecture that resembled a variety of tumors arising in other organs, including breast, prostate, ovary, pancreas, uterus, colon, and thyroid. Immunohistochemical stains showed a phenotype consistent with a primary lung tumor (ie, TTF1+/CK7+), with negative results for other markers. Molecular analysis in six cases showed that none harbored an EGFR-activating mutation. KRAS mutation was detected in one case, and an ALK1 and ROS1 gene rearrangement were each detected in an additional two cases. Cribriform adenocarcinomas of the lung represent a distinctive histologic subtype of lung cancer that may be morphologically difficult to differentiate from metastases with a predominant cribriform architecture.

Ryan C, Mayer N, Cunningham J, et al.
Increased ALK1 copy number and renal cell carcinoma-a case report.
Virchows Arch. 2014; 464(2):241-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
There have been recent reports of a rare variant of renal cell carcinoma associated with upregulation of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase gene (ALK) arising as a consequence of chromosomal translocations. The tumours were described as having a characteristic morphology. Here, we describe a case with similar morphology characterised by eosinophilic cells, abundant intracytoplasmic lumina and scattered large ganglion-like tumour cells. There was focal staining for ALK demonstrated by immunohistochemistry. However, rather than exhibiting a chromosomal translocation involving ALK, the use of FISH and a break-apart probe demonstrated that there was increased copy number of intact 2p23, the chromosomal region containing the ALK gene. Furthermore, the use of comparative genomic hybridisation showed increase of the whole of chromosome 2 along with chromosomes 6 and 17. There was no evidence of loss of 3p nor of trisomy of 7 associated with clear cell and papillary carcinoma, respectively. We suggest that this demonstrates a novel mechanism of upregulation of ALK activity by increased copy number occurring during the development of a renal carcinoma with the characteristic ALK-associated morphology.

Kim MK, Cho CH, Sung WJ, et al.
Primary anaplastic large cell lymphoma in the dura of the brain: case report and prediction of a favorable prognosis.
Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2013; 6(8):1643-51 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) is a rare T-cell lymphoma composed of CD30-positive lymphoid cells. ALCL arising in the dura matter of the brain is even more infrequent, in which only one case has been reported worldwide so far. We report a case of a 30-year-old immunocompetent male with a dura-based mass, radiographically consistent with meningioma. However, the excised mass via a left parieto-occipital craniotomy was composed of large, pleomorphic lymphoid cells to be immunopositive for CD3, CD30, anaplastic lymphoma kinase protein-1 (ALK-1) and epithelial membrane antigen (EMA), and immunonegative for CD20, CD15 and CD68. Multiple ALK gene fusion signals in the ALK locus were detected by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis. The patient was treated with CHOP chemotherapy and intrathecal methotrexate along with brain radiation therapy, which resulted in a complete remission. In an analysis of 25 previously reported primary CNS ALCLs, ALK-1 positivity was shown to be prevalent in younger age, as ALCL occurs outside the brain. Patient less than 23 years, ALK-1 positivity and unifocal tumor may be associated with a better prognosis. However, sex, dural or leptomeningeal involvement, immune status, and tumor necrosis do not appear to have any influence on survival.

Li Y, Pan Y, Wang R, et al.
ALK-rearranged lung cancer in Chinese: a comprehensive assessment of clinicopathology, IHC, FISH and RT-PCR.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(7):e69016 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Approximately 3-7% of non-small cell lung cancers harbor an anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene fusion, constituting a new molecular subtype of lung cancer that responds to crizotinib, an ALK inhibitor. Although previous studies have evaluated ALK-rearranged lung cancers, the comprehensive analysis of lung cancer in Chinese has not well assessed. Herein, we identified 44 cases of ALK-rearranged samples by fluorescent in-situ hybridization (FISH), immunohistochemistry (IHC), and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in a large number of surgically resected lung cancers. All 44 ALK-rearranged lung cancers were adenocarcinomas, with 2 cases having additional focal squamous components. The goal was to analyse the clinicopathological features of ALK-rearranged lung adenocarcinomas. Our data showed that a cribriform structure, prominent extracellular mucus and any type of mucous cell pattern may be either sensitive or specific to predict an ALK rearrangement. We used FISH as the standard detection method. We compared the ALK rearrangement accuracy of FISH, RT-PCR and IHC. RT-PCR could define both the ALK fusion partner and the fusion variant, but seemed unable to detect all translocations involving the ALK gene. It is noteworthy that IHC using the D5F3 antibody (Cell Signaling Technology) showed higher sensitivity and specificity than the ALK1 antibody (Dako). Therefore, we conclude that IHC remains a cost-effective and efficient technique for diagnosing ALK rearrangements and that D5F3 can be the optimal screening antibody in clinical practice.

Alquati S, Gira FA, Bartoli V, et al.
Low-grade myofibroblastic proliferations of the urinary bladder.
Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2013; 137(8):1117-28 [PubMed] Related Publications
CONTEXT: Myofibroblastic proliferations of the urinary bladder, which share some similarities with nodular fasciitis, were first reported in 1980. Since then, they have had several designations, the most frequently used being inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor. Based on both histopathologic and prognostic grounds, some authors prefer the term pseudosarcomatous myofibroblastic proliferation, at least for some of the proliferations. These same scientists also assimilate the so-called postoperative spindle cell nodules with the pseudosarcomatous myofibroblastic proliferations. Little is known about these low-grade myofibroblastic proliferations.
OBJECTIVES: To review the literature about low-grade myofibroblastic proliferations occurring in the urinary bladder.
DATA SOURCES: Textbooks and literature review. We obtained most of the clinicopathologic peculiarities from a patient population composed of the most-relevant, previously reported cases.
CONCLUSIONS: The low-grade myofibroblastic proliferations of the urinary bladder are rare lesions affecting males more often than they do females. The most-common signs and symptoms are hematuria and dysuria. Histopathologically, they are spindle cell proliferations in a loose myxoid stroma, even though compact proliferations or hypocellular fibrous patterns can be found. Immunohistochemistry is quite nonspecific, except for ALK-1 positivity (20%-89%). Fluorescence in situ hybridization has demonstrated clonal genetic aberrations involving the ALK gene in 50% to 60% of cases. After surgery, only 6% of patients experience local recurrence, without metastases or deaths from the disease. Malignant transformation has been reported exceptionally. These myofibroblastic proliferations are probably part of a continuum with, at one end, benign pseudosarcomatous proliferations and, at the opposite end, more-aggressive lesions. Because of the frequently indolent clinical course, aggressive treatment would be unjustified.

Wang L, You LS, Ni WM, et al.
β-Catenin and AKT are promising targets for combination therapy in acute myeloid leukemia.
Leuk Res. 2013; 37(10):1329-40 [PubMed] Related Publications
In this study, we confirmed that combining HHT with ACR can result in synergistic cytotoxicity to AML cells in vitro and in vivo. Combining HHT and ACR simultaneously inhibited PI3K/AKT and WNT/β-catenin signaling in AML cells. Significant increases in growth inhibition and apoptosis were induced by an AKT inhibitor when the WNT3A gene of THP-1 cells was silenced. HHT+ACR could synergistically induce the apoptosis of CD34(+)/CD38(-) primary AML cells. These results highlight β-catenin and AKT are promising targets for combination therapy for AML.

Graham RP, Oliveira AM, Zhang L
Rare ALK expression but no ALK rearrangement in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and neuroendocrine tumors.
Pancreas. 2013; 42(6):949-51 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene rearrangements were first identified in anaplastic large cell lymphomas. Subsequently, they have been observed in other tumor types with ALK-rearranged tumors demonstrating responsiveness to ALK inhibitors. The aggressiveness of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma warrants the examination of ALK rearrangements in pancreatic cancer as a potential therapeutic target. Immunohistochemical expression of ALK1 correlates with ALK rearrangements in other tumors. We performed ALK immunohistochemistry on samples of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors using 2 tissue microarrays.
METHODS: ALK1 expression was scored for each case as 0, 1+, 2+, or 3+ using established criteria. Fluorescence in situ hybridization using a break-apart assay with probes for ALK was performed to detect ALK rearrangement in ALK1-positive cases.
RESULTS: All 46 neuroendocrine tumors were negative for ALK1. Of 140 ductal adenocarcinoma cases, 5 showed immunoreactivity for ALK1: 1 was 3+, 2 were 2+, and 2 were 1+. However, fluorescence in situ hybridization for ALK rearrangement was negative in all 5 cases.
CONCLUSIONS: The results demonstrate that ALK1 expression is uncommon in both pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and neuroendocrine tumors. Rare ALK1 expression is not induced by ALK translocation, and ALK is unlikely to be a therapeutic target in pancreatic tumors.

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