Gene Summary

Gene:GNA11; G protein subunit alpha 11
Aliases: FBH, FBH2, FHH2, HHC2, GNA-11, HYPOC2
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene belongs to the family of guanine nucleotide-binding proteins (G proteins), which function as modulators or transducers in various transmembrane signaling systems. G proteins are composed of 3 units: alpha, beta and gamma. This gene encodes one of the alpha subunits (subunit alpha-11). Mutations in this gene have been associated with hypocalciuric hypercalcemia type II (HHC2) and hypocalcemia dominant 2 (HYPOC2). Patients with HHC2 and HYPOC2 exhibit decreased or increased sensitivity, respectively, to changes in extracellular calcium concentrations. [provided by RefSeq, Dec 2013]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:guanine nucleotide-binding protein subunit alpha-11
Source:NCBIAccessed: 30 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
Show (5)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 30 August 2019 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.

  • Mutation
  • ras Proteins
  • Chromosome 19
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Young Adult
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-1
  • Adolescents
  • Liver Cancer
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Terminology as Topic
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Melanocytes
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Nevus, Blue
  • Chromosome 3
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Cancer DNA
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Vascular Neoplasms
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Sunlight
  • Skin Cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Ubiquitin Thiolesterase
  • Uveal Neoplasms
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gq-G11
  • RNA Splicing Factors
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • DNA Copy Number Variations
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits
  • Risk Factors
  • rac1 GTP-Binding Protein
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Eye Cancer
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
Tag cloud generated 30 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

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: GNA11 (cancer-related)

Rose AM, Luo R, Radia UK, et al.
Detection of mutations in SF3B1, EIF1AX and GNAQ in primary orbital melanoma by candidate gene analysis.
BMC Cancer. 2018; 18(1):1262 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Ocular melanoma is a rare but often deadly malignancy that arises in the uvea (commonest primary site), conjunctiva or the orbit. Primary orbital melanoma (POM) is exceedingly rare, with approximately 60 cases reported to date. Despite recent advances in our understanding of the genetics of primary uveal and conjunctival melanomas, this information is lacking for POM.
METHODS: DNA was extracted from 12 POM tissues, with matched germline DNA (where available). MLPA was conducted to detect chromosomal alterations and Sanger sequencing used to identify point mutations in candidate melanoma driver genes (BRAF, NRAS, KRAS, GNA11, GNAQ), and other genes implicated in melanoma prognosis (EIF1AX, SF3B1). Immunohistochemistry was performed to analyse BAP1 nuclear expression.
RESULTS: MLPA detected copy number alterations in chromosomes 1p, 3, 6 and 8. Sequencing of melanoma driver genes revealed GNAQ (p.Q209L) mutations in two samples; although it is possible that these samples represent extraocular spread of an occult uveal melanoma. A recurrent mutation in SF3B1 (p.R625H) was observed in indolent, but not aggressive, tumours; a mutation in EIF1AX (p.N4S) was detected in one patient with non-aggressive disease.
CONCLUSIONS: EIF1AX and SF3B1 mutations appear have a role in determining the clinical course of POM and detection of these changes could have clinical significance. Further in depth analysis of this rare group using differing 'omic technologies will provide novel insights into tumour pathogenesis.

Eichenfield DZ, Cotter D, Thorson J, et al.
Agminated blue nevus with a GNAQ mutation: A case report and review of the literature.
J Cutan Pathol. 2019; 46(2):130-133 [PubMed] Related Publications
Agminated blue nevi are dermal melanocytic proliferations that classically present as dark blue macules or papules in a grouped, linear, or blaschkoid distribution. In their more common sporadic form, blue nevi manifest in young adulthood as solitary blue papules or macules on the scalp, face, hands, or feet. By contrast, agminated blue nevi tend to manifest earlier in life, and are distributed more evenly across anatomic sites. Recent studies have identified mutations in sporadic blue nevi in the genes encoding G Protein subunit alpha Q and G protein subunit alpha 11 (GNAQ and GNA11). It is unknown whether agminated blue nevi share the same genetic changes. In the present paper, we present a case of agminated blue nevus on the wrist, and identify an activating mutation (c.626A > T, p.Glu209Leu) in GNAQ. We hypothesize that GNAQ/GNA11 activating mutations arising earlier during development may trigger agminated blue nevi, explaining the broader field of involvement in these cutaneous lesions.

Wang J, Lv X, Xu F, et al.
GNA14 silencing suppresses the proliferation of endometrial carcinoma cells through inducing apoptosis and G
Biosci Rep. 2018; 38(5) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Endometrial carcinoma is the most common gynecological malignancy. The pathological factors triggering this disease are largely unknown. Although the role of guanine nucleotide-binding protein subunit α (GNA) 11 (GNA11) in melanoma has been described, the involvement of GNA14 in endometrial carcinoma remains to be determined. Here, we found that GNA14 expression was increased in endometrial carcinoma tissues compared with simple hyperplasia tissues. Based on lentivirus-mediated knockdown assay, we showed that GNA14 silencing significantly suppressed the proliferation of both HEC-1-A and Ishikawa cells. The caspase 3/caspase 7 activity and apoptosis were enhanced by GNA14 knockdown. GNA14 depletion led to cell cycle arrest at the G

Kennedy S, Rice M, Toomey S, et al.
An insight into the molecular genetics of a uveal melanoma patient cohort.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2018; 144(10):1861-1868 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIMS: Uveal melanoma (UM) is a highly aggressive malignancy and presents a clinically significant unmet need in cancer therapeutics. The aim of this study was to identify previously unreported mutations in UM among an Irish cohort of patients which may have potential clinical relevance.
METHODS: DNA was extracted from 36 intraocular melanoma patient samples and 4 metastatic melanoma samples among the patient cohort by microdissection from formalin-fixed paraffin embedded tissue blocks and underwent genotyping to test for known single nucleotide polymorphisms in 42 cancer associated genes. These mutations were analysed using a custom-designed sequenom panel.
RESULTS: Using high-throughput genotyping, mutually exclusive GNAQ and GNA11 mutations were detected in 31 of 34 UM patients together with a number of non-synonymous changes in established cancer driver genes, PHLPP2, MET, PIK3R1 and IDH-1, variants which have not been previously associated with UM.
CONCLUSION: Given the lack of knowledge regarding the clinical relevance of the variants identified in this UM cohort and their likely pathogenic nature in other cancers, further studies of the functional impact of these variant mutations are warranted to establish possible previously, undescribed roles in UM pathogenesis, which may provide additional targets for future therapies.

Park JJ, Diefenbach RJ, Joshua AM, et al.
Oncogenic signaling in uveal melanoma.
Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2018; 31(6):661-672 [PubMed] Related Publications
Uveal melanoma is the most common primary cancer of the eye, and despite rapidly emerging insights into the molecular profile of this disease, prognosis of patients with metastatic uveal melanoma remains poor with mortality rates unchanged in over 35 years. Early genetic events activate G protein-coupled receptor signaling in nearly all uveal tumors via mutually exclusive mutations in the GNAQ, GNA11, CYSLTR2, or PLCB4 genes. A multitude of signaling cascades downstream of G protein activation, including protein kinase C and mitogen-activated protein kinase activity, are actionable, and many ongoing clinical trials are targeting these pathways. Additional cytogenetic and genetic changes, however, including chromosome 3 monosomy, mutations in the BAP1 tumor suppressor gene, alterations in the splicing factors SRSF2/SF3B1, and mutations in the translation initiation factor EIF1AX, modulate signaling output in uveal tumors and modify the risk of metastases. Here, we review the complex interactions between genetic, molecular signaling, and prognostic profiles in uveal melanoma; the clinical implications of these interactions; and the latest potential targets for rational therapy.

van Poppelen NM, Yavuzyigitoglu S, Smit KN, et al.
Chromosomal rearrangements in uveal melanoma: Chromothripsis.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2018; 57(9):452-458 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Uveal melanoma (UM) is the most common primary intraocular malignancy in the Western world. Recurrent mutations in GNAQ, GNA11, CYSLTR2, PLCB4, BAP1, EIF1AX, and SF3B1 are described as well as non-random chromosomal aberrations. Chromothripsis is a rare event in which chromosomes are shattered and rearranged and has been reported in a variety of cancers including UM. SNP arrays of 249 UM from patients who underwent enucleation, biopsy or endoresection were reviewed for the presence of chromothripsis. Chromothripsis was defined as ten or more breakpoints per chromosome involved. Genetic analysis of GNAQ, GNA11, BAP1, SF3B1, and EIF1AX was conducted using Sanger and next-generation sequencing. In addition, immunohistochemistry for BAP1 was performed. Chromothripsis was detected in 7 out of 249 tumors and the affected chromosomes were chromosomes 3, 5, 6, 8, 12, and 13. The mean total of fragments per chromosome was 39.8 (range 12-116). In 1 UM, chromothripsis was present in 2 different chromosomes. GNAQ, GNA11 or CYSLTR2 mutations were present in 6 of these tumors and 5 tumors harbored a BAP1 mutation and/or lacked BAP1 protein expression by immunohistochemistry. Four of these tumors metastasized and for the fifth only short follow-up data are available. One of these metastatic tumors harbored an SF3B1 mutation. No EIF1AX mutations were detected in any of the tumors. To conclude, chromothripsis is a rare event in UM, occurring in 2.8% of samples and without significant association with mutations in any of the common UM driver genes.

Patrone S, Maric I, Rutigliani M, et al.
Prognostic value of chromosomal imbalances, gene mutations, and BAP1 expression in uveal melanoma.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2018; 57(8):387-400 [PubMed] Related Publications
Uveal melanoma (UM) exhibits recurring chromosomal abnormalities and gene driver mutations, which are related to tumor evolution/progression. Almost half of the patients with UM develop distant metastases, predominantly to the liver, and so far there are no effective adjuvant therapies. An accurate UM genetic profile could assess the individual patient's metastatic risk, and provide the basis to determine an individualized targeted therapeutic strategy for each UM patient. To investigate the presence of specific chromosomal and gene alterations, BAP1 protein expression, and their relationship with distant progression free survival (DPFS), we analyzed tumor samples from 63 UM patients (40 men and 23 women, with a median age of 64 years), who underwent eye enucleation by a single cancer ophthalmologist from December 2005 to June 2016. UM samples were screened for the presence of losses/gains in chromosomes 1p, 3, 6p, and 8q, and for mutations in GNAQ, GNA11, BAP1, SF3B1, and EIF1AX. BAP1 protein expression was detected by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Multivariate analysis showed that the presence of monosomy 3, 8q gain, and loss of BAP1 protein were significantly associated to DPFS, while BAP1 gene mutation was not, mainly due to the presence of metastatic UM cases with negative BAP1 IHC and no BAP1 mutation detected by Sanger sequencing. Loss of BAP1 protein expression and monosomy 3 represent the strongest predictors of metastases, and may have important implications for implementation of patient surveillance, properly designed clinical trials enrollment, and adjuvant therapy.

Upmanyu N, Bulldan A, Papadopoulos D, et al.
Impairment of the Gnα11-controlled expression of claudin-1 and MMP-9 and collective migration of human breast cancer MCF-7 cells by DHEAS.
J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2018; 182:50-61 [PubMed] Related Publications
Although dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) constitutes the most abundant steroid in humans, in-depth investigations of its effects are rather scarce. We address here DHEAS effects on the estrogen receptor-positive metastatic human breast cancer cell line MCF-7. We focus on DHEAS-mediated signaling that might influence expression of claudin-1 and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), both known to be critical factors for migration and invasiveness of various cancers, including breast cancer cells. Physiological concentrations of DHEAS trigger persistent phosphorylation of Erk1/2 in MCF-7 cells. Exposure of these cells for 24 h to 1 μM DHEAS also leads to a significant reduction of claudin-1 expression that cannot be prevented by high concentrations of the steroid sulfatase inhibitor STX64, indicating that desulfation and further conversion of DHEAS to some other steroid hormone is not required for this action. In addition, exposure of MCF-7 cells to the same concentration of DHEAS completely abolishes MMP-9 expression and considerably impairs cell migratory behavior. Abrogation of Gnα11 expression by siRNA prevents the stimulatory effect of DHEAS on Erk1/2 phosphorylation, consistent with a G-protein-coupled receptor being involved in the DHEAS-induced signaling. Nevertheless, Gnα11 also has direct effects that do not depend on DHEAS; thus, when Gnα11 expression is suppressed, expression of claudin-1 and MMP-9 as well as cell migration are significantly reduced. This is the first report demonstrating direct involvement of DHEAS and Gnα11 in the regulation of claudin-1 and MMP-9 expression and migration of MCF-7 cells.

Moore AR, Ran L, Guan Y, et al.
GNA11 Q209L Mouse Model Reveals RasGRP3 as an Essential Signaling Node in Uveal Melanoma.
Cell Rep. 2018; 22(9):2455-2468 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Uveal melanoma (UM) is characterized by mutually exclusive activating mutations in GNAQ, GNA11, CYSLTR2, and PLCB4, four genes in a linear pathway to activation of PLCβ in almost all tumors and loss of BAP1 in the aggressive subset. We generated mice with melanocyte-specific expression of GNA11

Chua V, Aplin AE
Novel therapeutic strategies and targets in advanced uveal melanoma.
Curr Opin Oncol. 2018; 30(2):134-141 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Currently, there are no U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved or effective treatment options for advanced-stage uveal melanoma. In this article, we focus on therapeutic targets in pathways/mechanisms associated with common mutations in uveal melanoma. We review the challenges associated with targeting of these pathways and novel treatment strategies.
RECENT FINDINGS: Common mutations that promote uveal melanoma initiation and progression include alterations in G protein subunit alpha q/11 (GNAQ/GNA11) and breast cancer gene 1-associated protein 1 (BAP1). Mutant GNAQ/GNA11 induces constitutive activation of tumorigenic pathways such as extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 and yes-associated protein. Inhibition of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) downstream of ERK1/2, however, was shown in trials to have limited clinical benefit. Recent reports suggested that combination therapies of MEK inhibition and modulators of mechanisms of drug resistance may improve tumor responses to MEK inhibitors. BAP1 has been shown to be involved in modulating chromatin dynamics and deubiquitination of proteins. Hence, epigenetic inhibitors are being investigated in BAP1 mutant uveal melanoma. However, other functions of BAP1, such as in DNA damage repair and cell cycle regulation, indicate additional targets for treatment of BAP1 mutant uveal melanoma. In addition, the frequent delayed development of uveal melanoma macrometastases is likely due to cellular dormancy mechanisms. Nuclear receptor subfamily 2, group F, member 1 and transforming growth factor beta 2 were among factors that have been shown in other cancers to induce dormant phenotypes.
SUMMARY: Findings from studies in uveal melanoma and in other cancers provide evidence for potential strategies that may be tested preclinically and clinically in advanced-stage uveal melanoma to improve treatment outcome and overall survival of patients.

Lu X, Lu J, Liao B, et al.
Driver pattern identification over the gene co-expression of drug response in ovarian cancer by integrating high throughput genomics data.
Sci Rep. 2017; 7(1):16188 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Multiple types of high throughput genomics data create a potential opportunity to identify driver patterns in ovarian cancer, which will acquire some novel and clinical biomarkers for appropriate diagnosis and treatment to cancer patients. To identify candidate driver genes and the corresponding driving patterns for resistant and sensitive tumors from the heterogeneous data, we combined gene co-expression modules with mutation modulators and proposed the method to identify driver patterns. Firstly, co-expression network analysis is applied to explore gene modules for gene expression profiles through weighted correlation network analysis (WGCNA). Secondly, mutation matrix is generated by integrating the CNV data and somatic mutation data, and a mutation network is constructed from the mutation matrix. Thirdly, candidate modulators are selected from significant genes by clustering vertexs of the mutation network. Finally, a regression tree model is utilized for module network learning, in which the obtained gene modules and candidate modulators are trained for the driving pattern identification and modulators regulatory exploration. Many identified candidate modulators are known to be involved in biological meaningful processes associated with ovarian cancer, such as CCL11, CCL16, CCL18, CCL23, CCL8, CCL5, APOB, BRCA1, SLC18A1, FGF22, GADD45B, GNA15, GNA11, and so on.

Mori T, Sukeda A, Sekine S, et al.
SOX10 Expression as Well as BRAF and GNAQ/11 Mutations Distinguish Pigmented Ciliary Epithelium Neoplasms From Uveal Melanomas.
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2017; 58(12):5445-5451 [PubMed] Related Publications
Purpose: Adenocarcinomas or adenomas derived from pigmented ciliary epithelium (APCE) are exceptionally rare ocular tumors. These tumors have pigmented and epithelioid features, and some APCEs are negative for keratin markers and positive for melanocytic markers. It is especially difficult to distinguish APCEs from uveal melanoma (UM). Accordingly, we examined protein expression and genetic mutations associated with APCE to facilitate diagnosis.
Methods: Five APCE and 11 UM samples were obtained from patients during surgical resection at our institute. APCE and UM ocular structures were compared comprehensively. Protein expression and genetic alterations involved in malignant melanoma were evaluated.
Results: SOX10 was expressed diffusely in all 11 UMs and in surrounding uveal or choroidal melanocytes, but not in the APCEs or nontumorous pigmented epithelia. Additionally, the expression patterns of cytokeratins and melanocytic markers differed between UMs and APCEs. We identified BRAF V600E mutations in four of five APCE samples, but not in the 11 UM samples. Moreover, GNAQ or GNA11 mutations were found in 10 of the 11 UM samples, but not in APCE samples. NRAS mutations were not observed in either tumor group examined.
Conclusions: APCE is a separate entity distinguished from UM by the absence of SOX10 expression and presence of the BRAF V600E mutation. These results have implications for diagnosis, providing a means to distinguish between UM and APCE.

Psinakis F, Katseli A, Koutsandrea C, et al.
Uveal Melanoma:
Anticancer Res. 2017; 37(10):5719-5726 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: Uveal melanoma is the most common primary adult intraocular malignancy. It is known to have a strong metastatic potential, fatal for the vast majority of patients. In recent years, meticulous cytogenetic and molecular profiling has led to precise prognostication, that unfortunately is not matched by advancements in adjuvant therapies. G Protein subunits alpha Q (GNAQ) and alpha 11 (GNA11) are two of the major driver genes that contribute to the development of uveal melanoma. Understanding their prognostic significance can allow tailored management and facilitate their use in the on-going quest of targeted uveal melanoma therapies.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded specimens were obtained from 47 patients of Greek origin, with uveal melanoma. GNAQ and GNA11 genes were screened for mutations in exons 4 and 5, by polymerase chain reaction and Sanger sequencing.
RESULTS: The overall mutation frequency of GNAQ/GNA11 genes was 42.4%. A novel mutation c.625_626delinsGC was identified in GNA11. No correlation was observed between the mutation status and metastasis occurrence or overall survival time of patients.
CONCLUSION: Mutations in GNAQ and GNA11 genes in this Greek population present frequencies that qualify them as potential targets for customized therapy.

Robertson AG, Shih J, Yau C, et al.
Integrative Analysis Identifies Four Molecular and Clinical Subsets in Uveal Melanoma.
Cancer Cell. 2017; 32(2):204-220.e15 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Comprehensive multiplatform analysis of 80 uveal melanomas (UM) identifies four molecularly distinct, clinically relevant subtypes: two associated with poor-prognosis monosomy 3 (M3) and two with better-prognosis disomy 3 (D3). We show that BAP1 loss follows M3 occurrence and correlates with a global DNA methylation state that is distinct from D3-UM. Poor-prognosis M3-UM divide into subsets with divergent genomic aberrations, transcriptional features, and clinical outcomes. We report change-of-function SRSF2 mutations. Within D3-UM, EIF1AX- and SRSF2/SF3B1-mutant tumors have distinct somatic copy number alterations and DNA methylation profiles, providing insight into the biology of these low- versus intermediate-risk clinical mutation subtypes.

Vader MJC, Madigan MC, Versluis M, et al.
GNAQ and GNA11 mutations and downstream YAP activation in choroidal nevi.
Br J Cancer. 2017; 117(6):884-887 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Mutations in GNAQ/11 genes are considered an early event in the development of uveal melanoma that may derive from a pre-existing nevus. The Hippo pathway, by way of YAP activation, rather than MAP kinase, has a role in the oncogenic capacity of GNAQ/11 mutations.
METHODS: We investigated 16 nevi from 13 human eyes for driver GNAQ/11 mutations using droplet digital PCR and determined whether nevi are clonal by quantifying mutant nevus cell fractions. Immunohistochemistry was performed on 15 nevi to analyse YAP activation.
RESULTS: For 15 out of 16 nevi, a GNAQ/11 mutation was detected in the nevus cells albeit at a low frequency with a median of 13%. Nuclear YAP, a transcriptional co-activator in the Hippo tumour-suppressor pathway, was detected in 14/15 nevi.
CONCLUSIONS: Our analysis suggests that a mutation in GNAQ/11 occurs in a subset of choroidal nevus cells. We hypothesise that GNAQ/11 mutant-driven extracellular mitogenic signalling involving YAP activation leads to accumulation of wild-type nevus cells.

Scholz SL, Möller I, Reis H, et al.
Frequent GNAQ, GNA11, and EIF1AX Mutations in Iris Melanoma.
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2017; 58(9):3464-3470 [PubMed] Related Publications
Purpose: The most common malignant intraocular tumors with a high mortality in adults are uveal melanomas. Uveal melanomas arise most frequently in the choroid or ciliary body (97%) and rarely in the iris (3%). Whereas conjunctival and posterior uveal (ciliary body and choroidal) melanomas have been studied in more detail genetically, little data exist regarding iris melanomas.
Methods: In our study, we genetically analyzed 19 iris melanomas, 8 ciliary body melanomas, 3 ring melanomas, and 4 iris nevi. A targeted next-generation sequencing approach was applied, covering the mutational hotspot regions of nine genes known to be mutated in conjunctival and uveal melanoma (BRAF, NRAS, KIT, GNAQ, GNA11, CYSLTR2, SF3B1, EIF1AX, and BAP1).
Results: Activating GNAQ or GNA11 hotspot mutations were detected in a mutually exclusive fashion in 84% (16/19) of iris melanomas. EIF1AX gene mutations also were frequent, detected in 42% (8/19) of iris melanomas. In 4 iris nevi, one GNAQ mutation was identified. GNAQ, GNA11, EIF1AX, and BAP1 mutations were identified at varying frequencies in ciliary body and ring melanomas.
Conclusions: In this most comprehensive genetic analysis of iris melanomas published to date, we find iris melanomas to be related genetically to choroidal and ciliary body melanomas, frequently harboring GNAQ, GNA11, and EIF1AX mutations. Future studies will need to assess if screening mutation profiles in iris melanomas may be of diagnostic or prognostic value.

Slattery ML, Herrick JS, Mullany LE, et al.
The co-regulatory networks of tumor suppressor genes, oncogenes, and miRNAs in colorectal cancer.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2017; 56(11):769-787 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) and oncogenes (OG) are involved in carcinogenesis. MiRNAs also contribute to cellular pathways leading to cancer. We use data from 217 colorectal cancer (CRC) cases to evaluate differences in TSGs and OGs expression between paired CRC and normal mucosa and evaluate how TSGs and OGs are associated with miRNAs. Gene expression data from RNA-Seq and miRNA expression data from Agilent Human miRNA Microarray V19.0 were used. We focus on genes most strongly associated with CRC (fold change (FC) of ≥1.5 or ≤0.67) that were statistically significant after adjustment for multiple comparisons. Of the 74 TSGs evaluated, 22 were associated with carcinoma/normal mucosa differential expression. Ten TSGs were up-regulated (FAM123B, RB1, TP53, RUNX1, MSH2, BRCA1, BRCA2, SOX9, NPM1, and RNF43); six TSGs were down-regulated (PAX5, IZKF1, GATA3, PRDM1, TET2, and CYLD); four were associated with MSI tumors (MLH1, PTCH1, and CEBPA down-regulated and MSH6 up-regulated); and two were associated with MSS tumors (PHF6 and ASXL1 up-regulated). Thirteen of these TSGs were associated with 44 miRNAs. Twenty-seven of the 59 OGs evaluated were dysregulated: 14 down-regulated (KLF4, BCL2, SSETBP1, FGFR2, TSHR, MPL, KIT, PDGFRA, GNA11, GATA2, FGFR3, AR, CSF1R, and JAK3), seven up-regulated (DNMT1, EZH2, PTPN11, SKP2, CCND1, MET, and MYC); three down-regulated for MSI (FLT3, CARD11, and ALK); two up-regulated for MSI (IDH2 and HRAS); and one up-regulated with MSS tumors (CTNNB1). These findings suggest possible co-regulatory function between TSGs, OGs, and miRNAs, involving both direct and indirect associations that operate through feedback and feedforward loops.

Staby KM, Gravdal K, Mørk SJ, et al.
Prognostic impact of chromosomal aberrations and GNAQ, GNA11 and BAP1 mutations in uveal melanoma.
Acta Ophthalmol. 2018; 96(1):31-38 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To evaluate clinico-pathological and molecular prognostic factors in a well-defined series of posterior uveal melanoma (UM) with focus on chromosomal aberrations and mutations in the GNAQ, GNA11 and BRCA1-associated protein 1 (BAP1) genes.
METHODS: Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue samples were obtained from 50 consecutive eyes enucleated for UM between 1993 and 2005. The material was tested for loss of chromosome 3 and gain of chromosome 8q gene signatures by selective molecular gene markers using multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA), and for DNA mutations in the GNAQ, GNA11 and BAP1 genes.
RESULTS: After a mean follow-up of 83 months (range, 8-205 months), 21 patients had died of metastatic UM and 16 patients of other causes. Tumour diameter, ciliary body involvement, mixed/epithelioid cell types, mitotic index, Ki-67 proliferation index, loss of chromosome 3 and gain of chromosome 8q showed statistically significant associations with metastatic disease. There were no significant differences in the prevalence of GNAQ and GNA11 mutations between patients with or without metastatic disease. Mutational analysis of the BAP1 gene was performed in 32 primary UM and in five UM liver metastases. Nine different BAP1 missense mutations were identified. BAP1 mutations were not more common in metastasizing than in nonmetastasizing UM.
CONCLUSION: The molecular gene markers showing loss of chromosome 3 and gain of 8q gene signatures were associated with an increased risk of metastatic disease. BRCA1-associated protein 1 (BAP1) gene mutation status had no prognostic significance. The frequency and spectrum of BAP1 mutations in UM may be more dependent on ethnicity and demographic variables than hitherto considered.

Griewank KG, Müller H, Jackett LA, et al.
SF3B1 and BAP1 mutations in blue nevus-like melanoma.
Mod Pathol. 2017; 30(7):928-939 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Blue nevi are melanocytic tumors originating in the cutaneous dermis. Malignant tumors may arise in association with or resembling blue nevi, so called 'blue nevus-like melanoma', which can metastasize and result in patient death. Identifying which tumors will behave in a clinically aggressive manner can be challenging. Identifying genetic alterations in such tumors may assist in their diagnosis and prognostication. Blue nevi are known to be genetically related to uveal melanomas (eg, both harboring GNAQ and GNA11 mutations). In this study, we analyzed a large cohort (n=301) of various morphologic variants of blue nevi and related tumors including tumors diagnosed as atypical blue nevi (n=21), and blue nevus-like melanoma (n=12), screening for all gene mutations known to occur in uveal melanoma. Similar to published reports, we found the majority of blue nevi harbored activating mutations in GNAQ (53%) or GNA11 (15%). In addition, rare CYSLTR2 (1%) and PLCB4 (1%) mutations were identified. EIF1AX, SF3B1, and BAP1 mutations were also detected, with BAP1 and SF3B1 R625 mutations being present only in clearly malignant tumors (17% (n=2) and 25% (n=3) of blue nevus-like melanoma, respectively). In sequencing data from a larger cohort of cutaneous melanomas, this genetic profile was also identified in tumors not originally diagnosed as blue nevus-like melanoma. Our findings suggest that the genetic profile of coexistent GNAQ or GNA11 mutations with BAP1 or SF3B1 mutations can aid the histopathological diagnosis of blue nevus-like melanoma and distinguish blue nevus-like melanoma from conventional epidermal-derived melanomas. Future studies will need to further elucidate the prognostic implications and appropriate clinical management for patients with tumors harboring these mutation profiles.

Sahm F, Reuss DE, Giannini C
WHO 2016 classification: changes and advancements in the diagnosis of miscellaneous primary CNS tumours.
Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 2018; 44(2):163-171 [PubMed] Related Publications
This short review highlights significant changes and recent findings incorporated to varying extent in the WHO 2016 definition of a variety of tumours, including peripheral nerve sheath tumours, meningiomas, mesenchymal nonmeningothelial tumours, melanocytic tumours, lymphomas and histiocytic tumours, germ cell tumours and non-neuroendocrine pituitary tumours. Most notable classification changes include: adding 'hybrid nerve sheath tumours' to the spectrum of benign nerve sheath tumours; an updated definition of atypical meningioma (WHO grade II), including cases with brain invasion; recognizing dural solitary fibrous tumour (SFT) and haemangiopericytoma (HPC) as a single tumour entity characterized by NAB2 and STAT6 gene fusions for which the term SFT/HPC was chosen; recognizing that pituitary granular cell tumour, spindle cell oncocytoma, and pituicytoma all share nuclear expression of TTF-1, possibly representing a spectrum of a single nosological entity derived from posterior pituitary glial cells. The most significant diagnostic markers which have emerged include: inactivation of NF1, CDKN2A, and PRC2 components, SUZ12 and EED in MPNST, leading to neurofibromin and H3K27me3 expression loss; GNAQ and GNA11 mutations in CNS primary melanocytic tumours; BRAFV600E mutation in histiocytic tumours (Langerhans cell histiocytosis and Erdheim-Chester disease) and papillary craniopharyngioma, which provides both a diagnostic marker in the appropriate pathological setting and a therapeutic target. The WHO 2016 Classification has balanced cutting-edge knowledge on the molecular characteristics of the miscellaneous CNS tumours reviewed here with a practical approach for their daily diagnostic work-up. Much more progress can be expected in the classification of these neoplasms in the near future.

Amaro A, Gangemi R, Piaggio F, et al.
The biology of uveal melanoma.
Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2017; 36(1):109-140 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Uveal melanoma (UM), a rare cancer of the eye, is distinct from cutaneous melanoma by its etiology, the mutation frequency and profile, and its clinical behavior including resistance to targeted therapy and immune checkpoint blockers. Primary disease is efficiently controlled by surgery or radiation therapy, but about half of UMs develop distant metastasis mostly to the liver. Survival of patients with metastasis is below 1 year and has not improved in decades. Recent years have brought a deep understanding of UM biology characterized by initiating mutations in the G proteins GNAQ and GNA11. Cytogenetic alterations, in particular monosomy of chromosome 3 and amplification of the long arm of chromosome 8, and mutation of the BRCA1-associated protein 1, BAP1, a tumor suppressor gene, or the splicing factor SF3B1 determine UM metastasis. Cytogenetic and molecular profiling allow for a very precise prognostication that is still not matched by efficacious adjuvant therapies. G protein signaling has been shown to activate the YAP/TAZ pathway independent of HIPPO, and conventional signaling via the mitogen-activated kinase pathway probably also contributes to UM development and progression. Several lines of evidence indicate that inflammation and macrophages play a pro-tumor role in UM and in its hepatic metastases. UM cells benefit from the immune privilege in the eye and may adopt several mechanisms involved in this privilege for tumor escape that act even after leaving the niche. Here, we review the current knowledge of the biology of UM and discuss recent approaches to UM treatment.

Reiman A, Kikuchi H, Scocchia D, et al.
Validation of an NGS mutation detection panel for melanoma.
BMC Cancer. 2017; 17(1):150 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Knowledge of the genotype of melanoma is important to guide patient management. Identification of mutations in BRAF and c-KIT lead directly to targeted treatment, but it is also helpful to know if there are driver oncogene mutations in NRAS, GNAQ or GNA11 as these patients may benefit from alternative strategies such as immunotherapy.
METHODS: While polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods are often used to detect BRAF mutations, next generation sequencing (NGS) is able to determine all of the necessary information on several genes at once, with potential advantages in turnaround time. We describe here an Ampliseq hotspot panel for melanoma for use with the IonTorrent Personal Genome Machine (PGM) which covers the mutations currently of most clinical interest.
RESULTS: We have validated this in 151 cases of skin and uveal melanoma from our files, and correlated the data with PCR based assessment of BRAF status. There was excellent agreement, with few discrepancies, though NGS does have greater coverage and picks up some mutations that would be missed by PCR. However, these are often rare and of unknown significance for treatment.
CONCLUSIONS: PCR methods are rapid, less time-consuming and less expensive than NGS, and could be used as triage for patients requiring more extensive diagnostic workup. The NGS panel described here is suitable for clinical use with formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples.

Carter H, Marty R, Hofree M, et al.
Interaction Landscape of Inherited Polymorphisms with Somatic Events in Cancer.
Cancer Discov. 2017; 7(4):410-423 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Recent studies have characterized the extensive somatic alterations that arise during cancer. However, the somatic evolution of a tumor may be significantly affected by inherited polymorphisms carried in the germline. Here, we analyze genomic data for 5,954 tumors to reveal and systematically validate 412 genetic interactions between germline polymorphisms and major somatic events, including tumor formation in specific tissues and alteration of specific cancer genes. Among germline-somatic interactions, we found germline variants in

Tatsi C, Bacopoulou F, Lyssikatos C, et al.
Sporadic melanotic schwannoma with overlapping features of melanocytoma bearing a GNA11 mutation in an adolescent girl.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2017; 64(6) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Melanotic schwannoma (MS) is a soft tissue neoplasm that shares histologic features with melanocytic tumors and schwannomas. A type of MS, called psammomatous MS (PMS), is associated with Carney complex (CNC), which is caused by PRKAR1A mutations. Other pigmented neoplasms, such as uveal melanomas and melanocytomas (MCs), are associated with genetic defects in other genes including GNA11. We report an adolescent female with a large sporadic mesenteric MS with complex histologic findings reminiscent of both PMS and MC. The lesion carried a mutation of the GNA11 gene. We conclude that sporadic MSs may occur rarely in adolescents without CNC; MSs may also be associated with somatic GNA11 mutations.

Möller I, Murali R, Müller H, et al.
Activating cysteinyl leukotriene receptor 2 (CYSLTR2) mutations in blue nevi.
Mod Pathol. 2017; 30(3):350-356 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Blue nevi are common melanocytic tumors arising in the dermal layer of the skin. Similar to uveal melanomas, blue nevi frequently harbor GNAQ and GNA11 mutations. Recently, recurrent CYSLTR2 and PLCB4 mutations were identified in uveal melanomas not harboring GNAQ or GNA11 mutations. All four genes (GNAQ, GNA11, CYSLTR2, and PLCB4) code for proteins involved in the same signaling pathway, which is activated by mutations in these genes. Given the related functional consequences of these mutations and the known genetic similarities between uveal melanoma and blue nevi, we analyzed a cohort of blue nevi to investigate whether CYSLTR2 and PLCB4 mutations occur in tumors lacking GNAQ or GNA11 mutations (as in uveal melanoma). A targeted next-generation sequencing assay covering known activating mutations in GNAQ, GNA11, CYSLTR2, PLCB4, KIT, NRAS, and BRAF was applied to 103 blue nevi. As previously reported, most blue nevi were found to harbor activating mutations in GNAQ (59%, n=61), followed by less frequent mutations in GNA11 (16%, n=17). Additionally, one BRAF (1%) and three NRAS (3%) mutations were detected. In three tumors (3%) harboring none of the aforementioned gene alterations, CYSLTR2 mutations were identified. All three CYSLTR2 mutations were the same c.386T>A, L129Q mutation previously identified in uveal melanoma that has been shown to lead to increased receptor activation and signaling. In summary, our study identifies CYSLTR2 L129Q alterations as a previously unrecognized activating mutation in blue nevi, occuring in a mutually exclusive fashion with known GNAQ and GNA11 mutations. Similar to GNAQ and GNA11 mutations, CYSLTR2 mutations, when present, are likely defining pathogenetic events in blue nevi.

Öztürk Sari Ş, Yilmaz İ, Taşkin OÇ, et al.
BRAF, NRAS, KIT, TERT, GNAQ/GNA11 mutation profile analysis of head and neck mucosal melanomas: a study of 42 cases.
Pathology. 2017; 49(1):55-61 [PubMed] Related Publications
Head and neck mucosal melanoma (HNMuM), which occurs mostly in the sinonasal and oral cavity, constitutes less than 1% of all malignant melanomas. Treatment options fail to improve the prognosis of this aggressive tumour that has low overall survival rates. Thus, development of new targeted therapies is essential. Unfortunately, limited data exist regarding their molecular profile. BRAF, NRAS, KIT, TERT and GNAQ/GNA11 oncogene mutations were investigated in 42 HNMuMs (28 sinonasal, 13 oral, 1 nasopharyngeal). Mutation rates were as follows: BRAF (4.8%), NRAS (4.8%), KIT (9.5%), TERT (7.5%), GNAQ/GNA11 (0%). Among 11 cases that harboured mutations (26%), 10 (91%) were located in sinonasal and one (9%) in the oral cavity. The literature was reviewed with comparison of frequencies based on the gathered data. NRAS and TERT promoter mutation rates were significantly higher in sinonasal than in oral location (p<0.05). Our results indicated that BRAF, NRAS, KIT, TERT and GNAQ/GNA11 gene mutations occur at low frequencies in HNMuMs, and subgroups (oral versus sinonasal) differ in their molecular profile. Low rates of aforementioned mutations and activation of oncogenes by pathways other than sun exposure support the distinctive nature of HNMuMs with regard to their cutaneous counterparts.

Royer-Bertrand B, Torsello M, Rimoldi D, et al.
Comprehensive Genetic Landscape of Uveal Melanoma by Whole-Genome Sequencing.
Am J Hum Genet. 2016; 99(5):1190-1198 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Uveal melanoma (UM) is a rare intraocular tumor that, similar to cutaneous melanoma, originates from melanocytes. To gain insights into its genetics, we performed whole-genome sequencing at very deep coverage of tumor-control pairs in 33 samples (24 primary and 9 metastases). Genome-wide, the number of coding mutations was rather low (only 17 variants per tumor on average; range 7-28), thus radically different from cutaneous melanoma, where hundreds of exonic DNA insults are usually detected. Furthermore, no UV light-induced mutational signature was identified. Recurrent coding mutations were found in the known UM drivers GNAQ, GNA11, BAP1, EIF1AX, and SF3B1. Other genes, i.e., TP53BP1, CSMD1, TTC28, DLK2, and KTN1, were also found to harbor somatic mutations in more than one individual, possibly indicating a previously undescribed association with UM pathogenesis. De novo assembly of unmatched reads from non-coding DNA revealed peculiar copy-number variations defining specific UM subtypes, which in turn could be associated with metastatic transformation. Mutational-driven comparison with other tumor types showed that UM is very similar to pediatric tumors, characterized by very few somatic insults and, possibly, important epigenetic changes. Through the analysis of whole-genome sequencing data, our findings shed new light on the molecular genetics of uveal melanoma, delineating it as an atypical tumor of the adult for which somatic events other than mutations in exonic DNA shape its genetic landscape and define its metastatic potential.

Carita G, Frisch-Dit-Leitz E, Dahmani A, et al.
Dual inhibition of protein kinase C and p53-MDM2 or PKC and mTORC1 are novel efficient therapeutic approaches for uveal melanoma.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(23):33542-56 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Uveal melanoma (UM) is the most common cancer of the eye in adults. Many UM patients develop metastases for which no curative treatment has been identified. Novel therapeutic approaches are therefore urgently needed. UM is characterized by mutations in the genes GNAQ and GNA11 which activate the PKC pathway, leading to the use of PKC inhibitors as a rational strategy to treat UM tumors. Encouraging clinical activity has been noted in UM patients treated with PKC inhibitors. However, it is likely that curative treatment regimens will require a combination of targeted therapeutic agents. Employing a large panel of UM patient-derived xenograft models (PDXs), several PKC inhibitor-based combinations were tested in vivo using the PKC inhibitor AEB071. The most promising approaches were further investigated in vitro using our unique panel of UM cell lines. When combined with AEB071, the two agents CGM097 (p53-MDM2 inhibitor) and RAD001 (mTORC1 inhibitor) demonstrated greater activity than single agents, with tumor regression observed in several UM PDXs. Follow-up studies in UM cell lines on these two drug associations confirmed their combination activity and ability to induce cell death. While no effective treatment currently exists for metastatic uveal melanoma, we have discovered using our unique panel of preclinical models that combinations between PKC/mTOR inhibitors and PKC/p53-MDM2 inhibitors are two novel and very effective therapeutic approaches for this disease. Together, our study reveals that combining PKC and p53-MDM2 or mTORC1 inhibitors may provide significant clinical benefit for UM patients.

Palicelli A, Disanto MG, Panzarasa G, et al.
Orbital meningeal melanocytoma: Histological, immunohistochemical and molecular characterization of a case and review of the literature.
Pathol Res Pract. 2016; 212(10):946-953 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIMS: We provide morphological, immunohistochemical and molecular characterization of the 3rd "intermediate-grade" orbital meningeal melanocytoma, testing for the first time Vysis Melanoma FISH Probe Kit. We reviewed the literature in order to discuss the main differential diagnoses and to provide a better molecular description of these unusual tumors of difficult diagnosis and controversial management.
METHODS: Histochemical stains (Haematoxylin and Eosin, Perls, reticulin), immunohistochemistry (HMB45, p16, Melan-A, S100, EMA, Ki67, CD68), polymerase chain reaction amplification and sequence analysis (BRAF, exon 15; NRAS exons 2 and 3; c-KIT, exons 11, 13, 17, 18; GNAQ, exons 4 and 5; GNA11, exons 4 and 5) and fluorescent in situ hybridization (RREB1, 6p25; MYB, 6q23; CCND1, 11q13; CEP 6, 6p11.1-q11.1) were performed on paraffin-embedded, formalin-fixed material.
RESULTS: Histological diagnosis of "intermediate-grade" melanocytoma was supported by zonal necrosis and increased Ki67-index (12%). Immunophenotype: HMB45+(strong, >75%), Melan-A+(strong, >75%), p16+(∼20%), S100 -/+ (<5%), EMA -/+ (<5%), CD68 - (positive histiocytes). No gene mutations nor copy-number alterations were identified. The patient was asymptomatic and disease-free 3 years after total surgical excision.
CONCLUSIONS: Adequate sampling and accurate immunohistochemical characterization are important for a correct diagnosis. Molecular analysis could provide important additional information (especially for "intermediate-grade" tumors), but further data are needed.

Sheng X, Kong Y, Li Y, et al.
GNAQ and GNA11 mutations occur in 9.5% of mucosal melanoma and are associated with poor prognosis.
Eur J Cancer. 2016; 65:156-63 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Mucosal melanoma (MM) is a rare subtype of melanoma in Caucasians with extremely poor prognosis, and therapy strategy has not been clearly established for MM. We aimed to investigate the genetic aberrations possibly applicable in targeted therapy of MM. We examined the somatic mutations of GNAQ and GNA11 (GNAQ/11, encoding the guanine nucleotide-binding alpha subunits) in MM and evaluated their correlation to clinicopathologic features of MM.
METHODS: This study collected samples from primary lesions of 284 MM patients. Tissue samples were analysed for mutations in exons 4 and 5 of GNAQ/11 in genomic DNA by polymerase chain reaction amplification and Sanger sequencing. Correlations of GNAQ/11 mutations to clinicopathologic features and prognosis of MM were evaluated.
RESULTS: The overall mutation frequency of GNAQ/11 in MM was 9.5% (27 in 284), with a frequency of 4.6% and 4.9% for GNAQ and GNA11 mutations, respectively. The mutations in exon 5 of GNAQ/11 occurred exclusively in codon 209. GNAQ(Q209L) was the most prevalent variation (92.3% of missense GNAQ mutations). GNAQ/11 mutations were not significantly associated with age, gender, ulceration, and primary anatomic site. The median overall survival for MM patients with GNAQ mutations (16.0 versus 26.0 months, P = 0.031) or GNA11 mutations (15.0 versus 26.0 months, P = 0.039) were significantly shorter than those for patients with wild-type GNAQ and GNA11, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests that GNAQ and GNA11 mutations occur frequently in MM and may be a prognostic factor for MM. Our data implicate that GNAQ/11 may be potential targets for targeted therapy of MM.

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