Gene Summary

Gene:GNAS; GNAS complex locus
Aliases: AHO, GSA, GSP, POH, GPSA, NESP, SCG6, SgVI, GNAS1, C20orf45
Summary:This locus has a highly complex imprinted expression pattern. It gives rise to maternally, paternally, and biallelically expressed transcripts that are derived from four alternative promoters and 5' exons. Some transcripts contain a differentially methylated region (DMR) at their 5' exons, and this DMR is commonly found in imprinted genes and correlates with transcript expression. An antisense transcript is produced from an overlapping locus on the opposite strand. One of the transcripts produced from this locus, and the antisense transcript, are paternally expressed noncoding RNAs, and may regulate imprinting in this region. In addition, one of the transcripts contains a second overlapping ORF, which encodes a structurally unrelated protein - Alex. Alternative splicing of downstream exons is also observed, which results in different forms of the stimulatory G-protein alpha subunit, a key element of the classical signal transduction pathway linking receptor-ligand interactions with the activation of adenylyl cyclase and a variety of cellular reponses. Multiple transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene. Mutations in this gene result in pseudohypoparathyroidism type 1a, pseudohypoparathyroidism type 1b, Albright hereditary osteodystrophy, pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism, McCune-Albright syndrome, progressive osseus heteroplasia, polyostotic fibrous dysplasia of bone, and some pituitary tumors. [provided by RefSeq, Aug 2012]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:protein ALEX; protein GNAS; protein SCG6 (secretogranin VI)
Source:NCBIAccessed: 12 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 12 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 12 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Latest Publications: GNAS (cancer-related)

Lin CF, Lin CM, Lee KY, et al.
Escape from IFN-γ-dependent immunosurveillance in tumorigenesis.
J Biomed Sci. 2017; 24(1):10 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Immune interferon (IFN), also known as IFN-γ, promotes not only immunomodulation but also antimicrobial and anticancer activity. After IFN-γ binds to the complex of IFN-γ receptor (IFNGR) 1-IFNGR2 and subsequently activates its downstream signaling pathways, IFN-γ immediately causes transcriptional stimulation of a variety of genes that are principally involved in its biological activities. Regarding IFN-γ-dependent immunosurveillance, IFN-γ can directly suppress tumorigenesis and infection and/or can modulate the immunological status in both cancer cells and infected cells. Regarding the anticancer effects of IFN-γ, cancer cells develop strategies to escape from IFN-γ-dependent cancer immunosurveillance. Immune evasion, including the recruitment of immunosuppressive cells, secretion of immunosuppressive factors, and suppression of cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses, is speculated to be elicited by the oncogenic microenvironment. All of these events effectively downregulate IFN-γ-expressing cells and IFN-γ production. In addition to these extrinsic pathways, cancer cells may develop cellular tolerance that manifests as hyporesponsiveness to IFN-γ stimulation. This review discusses the potential escape mechanisms from IFN-γ-dependent immunosurveillance in tumorigenesis.

Matsumoto R, Izawa M, Fukuoka H, et al.
Genetic and clinical characteristics of Japanese patients with sporadic somatotropinoma.
Endocr J. 2016; 63(11):953-963 [PubMed] Related Publications
Most of acromegaly is caused by a sporadic somatotropinoma and a couple of novel gene mutations responsible for somatotropinoma have recently been reported. To determine the cause of sporadic somatotropinoma in Japanese patients, we analyzed 61 consecutive Japanese patients with somatotropinoma without apparent family history. Comprehensive genetic analysis revealed that 31 patients harbored guanine nucleotide-binding protein, alpha stimulating (GNAS) mutations (50.8%) and three patients harbored aryl hydrocarbon receptor interacting protein (AIP) mutations (4.9%). No patients had G protein-coupled receptor 101 (GPR101) mutations. The patients in this cohort study were categorized into three groups of AIP, GNAS, and others and compared the clinical characteristics. The AIP group exhibited significantly younger age at diagnosis, larger tumor, and higher nadir GH during oral glucose tolerance test. In all patients with AIP mutation, macro- and invasive tumor was detected and repetitive surgery or postoperative medical therapy was needed. One case showed a refractory response to postoperative somatostatin analogue (SSA) but after the addition of cabergoline as combined therapy, serum IGF-I levels were controlled. The other case showed a modest response to SSA and the switching to cabergoline monotherapy was also effective. These data suggest that although resistance to SSA has been reported in patients with AIP mutations, the response to dopamine agonist (DA) may be retained. In conclusion, the cause of sporadic somatotropinoma in Japanese patients was comparable with the previous reports in Caucasians, patients with AIP mutations showed unique clinical characteristics, and DA may be a therapeutic option for patients with AIP mutations.

Peculis R, Balcere I, Rovite V, et al.
Polymorphisms in MEN1 and DRD2 genes are associated with the occurrence and characteristics of pituitary adenomas.
Eur J Endocrinol. 2016; 175(2):145-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Although pituitary adenomas (PAs) affect a significant proportion of the population, only a fraction have the potential to become clinically relevant during an individual's lifetime, causing hormonal imbalance or complications due to mass effect. The overwhelming majority of cases are sporadic and without a clear familial history, and the genotype-phenotype correlation in PA patients is poorly understood. Our aim was to investigate the involvement of genes known for their role in familial cases on drug response and tumor suppression in the development and pathology of PAs in a patient group from Latvia.
DESIGN: The study included 143 cases and 354 controls, we investigated the role of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in seven genes (SSTR2, SSTR5, DRD2, MEN1, AIP, GNAS, and PRKAR1A) associated with pituitary tumor occurrence, phenotype, and clinical symptoms.
METHODS: Genotyping of 96 tag and nonsynonymous SNPs was performed in the genomic regions of interest.
RESULTS: We discovered a significant association (OR=17.8, CI 0.95=2.18-145.5, P=0.0002) between a rare MEN1 mutation (rs2959656) and clinically active adenoma in our patients. Additionally, rs7131056 at DRD2 was associated with a higher occurrence of extrasellar growth in patients with prolactinoma and somatotropinoma (OR=2.79, CI 0.95=1.58-4.95, P=0.0004).
CONCLUSIONS: rs2959656, a nonsynonymous variant in MEN1, is associated with the development of clinically active PA. Furthermore, rs7131056 in DRD2 contributes to either faster growth of the adenoma or reduced symptomatic presentation, allowing PAs to become larger before detection.

Yoshida K, Nagasaka T, Umeda Y, et al.
Expansion of epigenetic alterations in EFEMP1 promoter predicts malignant formation in pancreatobiliary intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2016; 142(7):1557-69 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: Although limited understanding exists for the presence of specific genetic mutations and aberrantly methylated genes in pancreatobiliary intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs), the fundamental understanding of the dynamics of methylation expansion across CpG dinucleotides in specific gene promoters during carcinogenesis remains unexplored. Expansion of DNA methylation in some gene promoter regions, such as EFEMP1, one of the fibulin family, with tumor progression has been reported in several malignancies. We hypothesized that DNA hypermethylation in EFEMP1 promoter would expand with the tumor grade of IPMN.
METHODS: A sample of 65 IPMNs and 30 normal pancreatic tissues was analyzed. IPMNs were divided into the following three subsets according to pathological findings: 31 with low-grade dysplasia (low grade), 11 with high-grade dysplasia (high grade), and 23 with associated invasive carcinoma (invasive Ca). Mutations in the KRAS or GNAS genes were analyzed by Sanger sequencing, and methylation status of two discrete regions within the EFEMP1 promoter, namely region 1 and region 2, was analyzed by bisulfite sequencing and fluorescent high-sensitive assay for bisulfite DNA (Hi-SA). Expression status of EFEMP1 was investigated by immunohistochemistry (IHC).
RESULTS: KRAS mutations were detected in 39, 55, and 70 % of low-grade, high-grade, and invasive Ca, respectively. GNAS mutations were observed in 32, 55, and 22 % of low-grade, high-grade, and invasive Ca, respectively. The methylation of individual regions (region 1 or 2) in the EFEMP1 promoter was observed in 84, 91, and 87 % of low-grade, high-grade, and invasive Ca, respectively. However, simultaneous methylation of both regions (extensive methylation) was exclusively detected in 35 % of invasive Ca (p = 0.001) and five of eight IPMNs (63 %) with extensive methylation, whereas 20 of 57 (35.1 %) tumors of unmethylation or partial methylation of the EFEMP1 promoter region showed weak staining EFEMP1 in extracellular matrix (p = 0.422). In addition, extensive EFEMP1 methylation was particularly present in malignant tumors without GNAS mutations and associated with disease-free survival of patients with IPMNs (p < 0.0001).
CONCLUSIONS: Extensive methylation of the EFEMP1 gene promoter can discriminate invasive from benign IPMNs with superior accuracy owing to their stepwise accumulation of tumor progression.

Guérin M, Thariat J, Ouali M, et al.
A new subtype of high-grade mandibular osteosarcoma with RASAL1/MDM2 amplification.
Hum Pathol. 2016; 50:70-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
In contrast to long bone osteosarcoma, mandibular osteosarcoma is highly heterogeneous and morphologically overlaps with benign tumors, obscuring diagnosis and treatment selection. Molecular characterization is difficult due to the paucity of available specimens of this rare disease. We aimed to characterize the spectrum of mandibular osteosarcoma using immunohistochemistry and molecular techniques (quantitative polymerase chain reaction and sequencing) and compare them with benign fibro-osseous lesions. Forty-nine paraffin-embedded mandible osteosarcoma tissue samples were collected retrospectively and compared with 10 fibrous dysplasia and 15 ossifying fibroma cases. These were analyzed for molecular markers thought to differ between the different diseases and subtypes: MDM2 (murine double-minute type 2) overexpression, GNAS (guanine nucleotide-binding protein/α subunit) mutations, and amplification of MDM2 and/or RASAL1 (RAS protein activator like 1). Five fibroblastic high-grade osteosarcoma subtypes showed MDM2 amplification, including 2 with a microscopic appearance of high-grade osteosarcoma with part low-grade osteosarcoma (differentiated/dedifferentiated osteosarcoma) and MDM2 overexpression. The other 3 contained a coamplification of MDM2 and RASAL1, a signature also described for juvenile ossifying fibroma, with no overexpression of MDM2. These were of the giant cell-rich high-grade osteosarcoma, with areas mimicking juvenile ossifying fibroma (ossifying fibroma-like osteosarcoma). Our results show that some diagnosed high-grade osteosarcomas are differentiated/dedifferentiated osteosarcomas and harbor an overexpression and amplification of MDM2. In addition, juvenile ossifying fibromas can potentially evolve into giant cell-rich high-grade osteosarcomas and are characterized by a RASAL1 amplification (osteosarcoma with juvenile ossifying fibroma-like genotype). Thus, the presence of a RASAL1 amplification in ossifying fibroma may indicate a requirement for closer follow-up and more aggressive management.

Poh SL, Linn YC
Immune checkpoint inhibitors enhance cytotoxicity of cytokine-induced killer cells against human myeloid leukaemic blasts.
Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2016; 65(5):525-36 [PubMed] Related Publications
We studied whether blockade of inhibitory receptors on cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells by immune checkpoint inhibitors could increase its anti-tumour potency against haematological malignancies. CIK cultures were generated from seven normal donors and nine patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) or multiple myeloma (MM). The inhibitory receptors B and T lymphocyte attenuator, CD200 receptor, lymphocyte activation gene-3 (LAG-3) and T cell immunoglobulin and mucin-domain-containing-3 (TIM-3) were present at variable percentages in most CIK cultures, while cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4), programmed death-1 (PD-1) and killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR2DL1/2/3) were expressed at low level in most cultures. Without blockade, myeloid leukaemia cells were susceptible to autologous and allogeneic CIK-mediated cytotoxicity. Blockade of KIR, LAG-3, PD-1 and TIM-3 but not CTLA-4 resulted in remarkable increase in killing against these targets, even in those with poor baseline cytotoxicity. ALL and MM targets were resistant to CIK-mediated cytotoxicity, and blockade of receptors did not increase cytotoxicity to a meaningful extent. Combination of inhibitors against two receptors did not further increase cytotoxicity. Interestingly, potentiation of CIK killing by blocking antibodies was not predicted by expression of receptors on CIK and their respective ligands on the targets. Compared to un-activated T and NK cells, blockade potentiated the cytotoxicity of CIK cells to a greater degree and at a lower E:T ratio, but without significant increase in cytotoxicity against normal white cell. Our findings provide the basis for clinical trial combining autologous CIK cells with checkpoint inhibitors for patients with AML.

Song X, Xie L, Wang X, et al.
Temozolomide-perillyl alcohol conjugate induced reactive oxygen species accumulation contributes to its cytotoxicity against non-small cell lung cancer.
Sci Rep. 2016; 6:22762 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Temozolomide-perillyl alcohol conjugate (TMZ - POH), a novel temozolomide analog, was reported to play a cytotoxic role in triple-negative breast cancer and TMZ-resistant gliomas. In a current study we had demonstrated how TMZ - POH also exhibited its cytotoxicity against non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the most common type of lung cancer, as evidence from cell/tumor proliferation inhibition, G2/M arrest, DNA damage and mitochondrial apoptosis. Importantly, TMZ - POH's cytotoxicity is closely related to reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation because it can be reversed by two ROS scavengers, catalase (CAT) and N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC). TMZ - POH induces mitochondrial transmembrane potential (MTP) decrease and ROS accumulation, in turn activates mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPKs) signaling and mitochondrial apoptosis, and then exerts its cytotoxicity, thus proposing TMZ - POH as a potential therapeutic candidate for NSCLC.

Hsueh HM, Tsai CA
Gene set analysis using sufficient dimension reduction.
BMC Bioinformatics. 2016; 17:74 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Gene set analysis (GSA) aims to evaluate the association between the expression of biological pathways, or a priori defined gene sets, and a particular phenotype. Numerous GSA methods have been proposed to assess the enrichment of sets of genes. However, most methods are developed with respect to a specific alternative scenario, such as a differential mean pattern or a differential coexpression. Moreover, a very limited number of methods can handle either binary, categorical, or continuous phenotypes. In this paper, we develop two novel GSA tests, called SDRs, based on the sufficient dimension reduction technique, which aims to capture sufficient information about the relationship between genes and the phenotype. The advantages of our proposed methods are that they allow for categorical and continuous phenotypes, and they are also able to identify a variety of enriched gene sets.
RESULTS: Through simulation studies, we compared the type I error and power of SDRs with existing GSA methods for binary, triple, and continuous phenotypes. We found that SDR methods adequately control the type I error rate at the pre-specified nominal level, and they have a satisfactory power to detect gene sets with differential coexpression and to test non-linear associations between gene sets and a continuous phenotype. In addition, the SDR methods were compared with seven widely-used GSA methods using two real microarray datasets for illustration.
CONCLUSIONS: We concluded that the SDR methods outperform the others because of their flexibility with regard to handling different kinds of phenotypes and their power to detect a wide range of alternative scenarios. Our real data analysis highlights the differences between GSA methods for detecting enriched gene sets.

Pillai S, Gopalan V, Smith RA, Lam AK
Updates on the genetics and the clinical impacts on phaeochromocytoma and paraganglioma in the new era.
Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2016; 100:190-208 [PubMed] Related Publications
Genetic mutations of phaeochromocytoma (PCC) and paraganglioma (PGL) are mainly classified into two major clusters. Cluster 1 mutations are involved with the pseudo hypoxic pathway and comprised of PHD2, VHL, SDHx, IDH, HIF2A, MDH2 and FH mutated PCC/PGL. Cluster 2 mutations are associated with abnormal activation of kinase signalling pathways and included mutations of RET, NF1, KIF1Bβ, MAX and TMEM127. In addition, VHL, SDHx (cluster 1 genes) and RET, NF1 (cluster 2 genes) germline mutations are involved in the neuronal precursor cell pathway in the pathogeneses of PCC/PGL. Also, GDNF, H-ras, K-ras, GNAS, CDKN2A (p16), p53, BAP1, BRCA1&2, ATRX and KMT2D mutations have roles in the development of PCC/PGLs. Overall, known genetic mutations account for the pathogenesis of approximately 60% of PCC/PGLs. Genetic mutations, pathological parameters and biochemical markers are used for better prediction of the outcome of patients with this group of tumours. Immunohistochemistry and gene sequencing can ensure a more effective detection, prediction of malignant potential and treatment of PCC/PCLs.

Nakajima Y, Okamura T, Horiguchi K, et al.
GNAS mutations in adrenal aldosterone-producing adenomas.
Endocr J. 2016; 63(2):199-204 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mutations in GNAS, which encodes Gsα, have been documented in detail, particularly in human pituitary GH-secreting adenomas. Mutations have also recently been reported in adrenal cortisol-producing adenomas (CPAs), in addition to those in the PRKACA gene. However, mutations have not yet been examined in aldosterone-producing adenomas (APAs). Therefore, we herein investigated mutations in the GNAS gene in APAs. Two of the 15 (13%) CPAs with overt Cushing's syndrome and one of the 9 (11%) CPAs with subclinical Cushing's syndrome examined had the somatic mutations, p.R201S and p.R201C in the GNAS gene. We identified mutations in the GNAS gene (p.R201C) in 2 out of the 33 (6%) APAs tested, both of which showed autonomous cortisol secretion, while 24 APAs had mutations in the KCNJ5 gene (18 with p.G151R and 6 with p.L168R). These GNAS and KCNJ5 mutations were mutually exclusive in these adenomas. We herein demonstrated for the first time the presence of GNAS mutations in APAs, as well as in some cortisol-secreting adenomas. Our results suggest that these mutations, in addition to mutations in the KCNJ5 gene and other genes such as ATP1A1, ATP2B3 and CACNA1D, may be responsible for the tumorigenesis of APAs and CPAs with subclinical Cushing's syndrome.

Poh SS, Chua ML, Wee JT
Carcinogenesis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma: an alternate hypothetical mechanism.
Chin J Cancer. 2016; 35:9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Current proposed mechanisms implicate both early and latent Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection in the carcinogenic cascade, whereas epidemiological studies have always associated nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) with early childhood EBV infection and with chronic ear, nose, and sinus conditions. Moreover, most patients with NPC present with IgA antibody titers to EBV capsid antigen (VCA-IgA), which can precede actual tumor presentation by several years. If early childhood EBV infection indeed constitutes a key event in NPC carcinogenesis, one would have to explain the inability to detect the virus in normal nasopharyngeal epithelium of patients at a high risk for EBV infection. It is perhaps possible that EBV resides within the salivary glands, instead of the epithelium, during latency. This claim is indirectly supported by observations that the East Asian phenotype shares the characteristics of an increased susceptibility to NPC and immature salivary gland morphogenesis, the latter of which is influenced by the association of salivary gland morphogenesis with an evolutionary variant of the human ectodysplasin receptor gene (EDAR), EDARV370A. Whether the immature salivary gland represents a more favorable nidus for EBV is uncertain, but in patients with infectious mononucleosis, EBV has been isolated in this anatomical organ. The presence of EBV-induced lymphoepitheliomas in the salivary glands and lungs further addresses the possibility of submucosal spread of the virus. Adding to the fact that the fossa of Rosen Müller contains a transformative zone active only in the first decade of life, one might be tempted to speculate the possibility of an alternative carcinogenic cascade for NPC that is perhaps not dissimilar to the model of human papillomavirus and cervical cancer.

Jahn SW, Kashofer K, Thüringer A, et al.
Mutation Profiling of Usual Ductal Hyperplasia of the Breast Reveals Activating Mutations Predominantly at Different Levels of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR Pathway.
Am J Pathol. 2016; 186(1):15-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
Usual ductal hyperplasia (UDH) of the breast is generally regarded as a nonneoplastic proliferation, albeit loss of heterozygosity has long been reported in a part of these lesions. To gain deeper insights into the molecular drivers of these lesions, an extended mutation profiling was performed. The coding regions of 409 cancer-related genes were investigated by next-generation sequencing in 16 cases of UDH, nine unassociated with neoplasia (classic) and seven arising within papillomas. Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) activation was investigated by phosphorylated AKT, mTOR, and S6 immunohistochemistry. Of 16 lesions, 10 (63%) were mutated; 56% of classic lesions were unassociated with neoplasia, and 71% of lesions arose in papillomas. Fourteen missense mutations were detected: PIK3CA [6 (43%) of 14], AKT1 [2 (14%) of 14], as well as GNAS, MTOR, PIK3R1, LPHN3, LRP1B, and IGF2R [each 1 (7%) of 14]. Phosphorylated mTOR was seen in 83% and phosphorylated S6 in 86% of evaluable lesions (phospho-AKT staining was technically uninterpretable). In conclusion, UDH displays mutations of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/AKT/mTOR axis at different levels, with PIK3R1, MTOR, and GNAS mutations not previously described. Specifically, oncogenic G-protein activation represents a yet unrecognized route to proliferation in UDH. On the basis of evidence of activating mutations, loss of heterozygosity, and a mass forming proliferation, we propose that UDH is most appropriately viewed as an early neoplastic intraductal proliferation.

Ronchi CL, Peverelli E, Herterich S, et al.
Landscape of somatic mutations in sporadic GH-secreting pituitary adenomas.
Eur J Endocrinol. 2016; 174(3):363-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
CONTEXT: Alterations in the cAMP signaling pathway are common in hormonally active endocrine tumors. Somatic mutations at GNAS are causative in 30-40% of GH-secreting adenomas. Recently, mutations affecting the USP8 and PRKACA gene have been reported in ACTH-secreting pituitary adenomas and cortisol-secreting adrenocortical adenomas respectively. However, the pathogenesis of many GH-secreting adenomas remains unclear.
AIM: Comprehensive genetic characterization of sporadic GH-secreting adenomas and identification of new driver mutations.
DESIGN: Screening for somatic mutations was performed in 67 GH-secreting adenomas by targeted sequencing for GNAS, PRKACA, and USP8 mutations (n=31) and next-generation exome sequencing (n=36).
RESULTS: By targeted sequencing, known activating mutations in GNAS were detected in five cases (16.1%), while no somatic mutations were observed in both PRKACA and USP8. Whole-exome sequencing identified 132 protein-altering somatic mutations in 31/36 tumors with a median of three mutations per sample (range: 1-13). The only recurrent mutations have been observed in GNAS (31.4% of cases). However, seven genes involved in cAMP signaling pathway were affected in 14 of 36 samples and eight samples harbored variants in genes involved in the calcium signaling or metabolism. At the enrichment analysis, several altered genes resulted to be associated with developmental processes. No significant correlation between genetic alterations and the clinical data was observed.
CONCLUSION: This study provides a comprehensive analysis of somatic mutations in a large series of GH-secreting adenomas. No novel recurrent genetic alterations have been observed, but the data suggest that beside cAMP pathway, calcium signaling might be involved in the pathogenesis of these tumors.

Jhaveri N, Agasse F, Armstrong D, et al.
A novel drug conjugate, NEO212, targeting proneural and mesenchymal subtypes of patient-derived glioma cancer stem cells.
Cancer Lett. 2016; 371(2):240-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a highly malignant brain tumor, accounts for half of all gliomas. Despite surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, the median survival is between 12 and 15 months. The poor prognosis is due to tumor recurrence attributed to chemoresistant glioma cancer stem cells (GSCs). Here we examined the effects of a novel compound NEO212, which is composed of two covalently conjugated anti-cancer compounds - temozolomide (TMZ) and perillyl alcohol (POH), on GSCs expressing either the proneural or mesenchymal gene signatures. These GSCs were obtained from patient-derived tumor tissue. Our findings demonstrate that NEO212 is 10 fold more cytotoxic to GSCs than TMZ (standard-of-care). Furthermore, NEO212 is effective against both proneural and clinically aggressive mesenchymal GSC subtypes. The mechanism of NEO212 mediated-cytotoxicity is through double-strand DNA breaks and apoptosis. In vivo studies show that NEO212 significantly delays tumor growth of both proneural and mesenchymal tumor stem cell populations. Patient-derived GSCs and tumors derived from these cells are highly reflective of the heterogeneity in human GBM. The efficacy of NEO212 against both GSC subtypes indicates that NEO212 has great clinical potential to effectively target GBM.

Tamura Y, Fujiwara Y, Yamamoto N, et al.
Retrospective analysis of the efficacy of chemotherapy and molecular targeted therapy for advanced pulmonary pleomorphic carcinoma.
BMC Res Notes. 2015; 8:800 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Pulmonary pleomorphic carcinoma (PPC) follows an aggressive clinical course and outcomes are disappointing. Due to its rarity, however, the clinicopathological and molecular characteristics of this disease remain unclear.
METHODS: We retrospectively evaluated the efficacy of chemotherapy and molecular targeted therapy in 16 patients with PPC who received chemotherapy or EGFR-TKI. We also investigated the status of EGFR mutation, KRAS mutation and ALK expression.
RESULTS: On histologic review of the malignant epithelial component, adenocarcinoma was identified in seven cases (43.8%), large cell carcinoma in four (25.0%), and squamous cell carcinoma in two (12.5%). For the sarcomatoid component, 14 cases (87.5%) had both spindle cell tumor and giant cell and 2 (12.5%) had giant cell. Eleven patients received cytotoxic chemotherapy as first-line but did not achieve an objective response, although one patient who received docetaxel as second-line achieved a partial response. We also found that one patient achieved long stable disease of about 9 years without progression after receiving cisplatin and gemcitabine treatment. EGFR mutation, KRAS mutation and ALK expression were investigated in 14 patients whose tumor specimens were available. EGFR mutation was observed in 2 (14.3%) and KRAS mutation in 3 (21.4%), while no patient was positive for ALK expression. One patient harboring EGFR exon 19 deletion was treated with gefitinib after postoperative recurrence and achieved a complete response of about 35 months.
CONCLUSIONS: Although advanced PPC showed a poor response to chemotherapy, one patient with EGFR mutation achieved an extended complete response. We therefore recommend the evaluation of driver gene alteration such as EGFR in the treatment of advanced PPC.

Salava A, Aho V, Pereira P, et al.
Skin microbiome in melanomas and melanocytic nevi.
Eur J Dermatol. 2016 Jan-Feb; 26(1):49-55 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: High-throughput DNA sequencing has shown that the cutaneous microbiome varies due to different exogenous and endogenous factors.
OBJECTIVES: To characterize the microbiome of cutaneous melanomas and melanocytic nevi.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Non-invasive swab specimens were taken from 15 cutaneous melanomas and 17 benign melanocytic nevi. Partial sequencing of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene was carried out on the 454 GS-FLX Titanium platform and the resulting sequence data was analysed by bioinformatics and statistical methods. 95% of the OTUs (Operational Taxonomic Units) belonged to four phyla: Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes. The genus Propionibacterium was overall the most common genus, followed by Staphylococcus and Corynebacterium. Statistical analysis showed no significant differences in the relative abundances of bacterial genera or bacterial diversity between the patient groups. Melanoma samples showed a marginally decreased cutaneous microbial diversity.
CONCLUSION: Our data suggests that the skin microbiome may not be a useful diagnostic tool for melanoma and melanocytic nevi.

Perrier-Trudova V, Huimin BW, Kongpetch S, et al.
Fumarate Hydratase-deficient Cell Line NCCFH1 as a New In Vitro Model of Hereditary Papillary Renal Cell Carcinoma Type 2.
Anticancer Res. 2015; 35(12):6639-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: Hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell carcinoma (HLRCC) is a rare autosomal dominant disorder characterized by fumarate hydratase (FH) gene mutation. It is associated with the development of very aggressive kidney tumors, characterized by early onset and high metastatic potential, and has no effective therapy. The aim of the study was to establish a new preclinical platform for investigating morphogenetic and metabolic features, and alternative therapy of metastatic hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma type 2 (PRCC2).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Fresh cells were collected from pleural fluid of a patient with metastatic hereditary PRCC2. Morphogenetic and functional characteristics were evaluated via microscopy, FH gene sequencing analysis, real-time polymerase chaine reaction and enzymatic activity measurement. We performed bioenergetic analysis, gene-expression profiling, and cell viability assay with 19 anti-neoplastic drugs.
RESULTS: We established a new in vitro model of hereditary PRCC2 - the NCCFH1 cell line. The cell line possesses a c.1162 delA - p.Thr375fs frameshift mutation in the FH gene. Our findings indicate severe attenuation of oxidative phosphorylation and glucose-dependent growth of NCCFH1 cells that is consistent with the Warburg effect. Furthermore, gene-expression profiling identified that the most prominent molecular features reflected a high level of apoptosis, cell adhesion, and cell signaling. Drug screening revealed a marked sensitivity of FH(-/-) cells to mitoxantrone, epirubicin, topotecan and a high sensitivity to bortezomib.
CONCLUSION: We demonstrated that the NCCFH1 cell line is a very interesting preclinical model for studying the metabolic features and testing new therapies for hereditary PRCC2, while bortezomib may be a potential efficient therapeutic option.

Poh A
Novartis Compiles Mouse Avatar "Encyclopedia".
Cancer Discov. 2016; 6(1):5-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Novartis scientists have generated the PDX Encyclopedia, which contains over 1,000 patient-derived tumor xenograft models spanning a range of common solid cancers. They'll use this collection for in vivo drug screens designed to mimic human clinical trials, which they hope improves candidate therapy profiling.

Yu Y, Dong L, Li D, et al.
Targeted DNA Sequencing Detects Mutations Related to Susceptibility among Familial Non-medullary Thyroid Cancer.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:16129 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Some studies have demonstrated that familial non-medullary thyroid cancer (FNMTC) has a more aggressive clinical behavior compared to sporadic NMTC (SNMTC). However, FNMTC is difficult to differentiate from SNMTC by the morphology and immunohistochemistry. Although genes responsible for FNMTC were unclear, screening for rare germline mutations on known important tumor suppressor genes might offer more insights on predicting susceptibility to FNMTC. Here, a customized panel was designed to capture all exons of 31 cancer susceptive genes possibly related to FNMTC. Using next-generation sequencing we performed deep sequencing to achieve 500× coverage of the targeted regions. At the end 45 variants were identified in 29 of 47 familial patients and 6 of 16 sporadic patients. Notably, several germline mutations were found matching between paired FNMTC patients from the same family, including APC L292F and A2778S, BRAF D22N, MSH6 G355S and A36V, MSH2 L719F, MEN1 G508D, BRCA1 SS955S, BRCA2 G2508S, and a GNAS inframe insertion. We demonstrated a novel approach to help diagnose and elucidate the genetic cause of the FNMTC patients, and assess whether their family members are exposed to a higher genetic risk. The findings would also provide insights on monitoring the potential second cancers for thyroid cancer patients.

Calderaro J, Nault JC, Balabaud C, et al.
Inflammatory hepatocellular adenomas developed in the setting of chronic liver disease and cirrhosis.
Mod Pathol. 2016; 29(1):43-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatocellular adenoma is considered to occur exclusively in non-fibrotic livers. It is a heterogeneous entity and a molecular classification is now widely accepted. The most frequent hepatocellular adenoma subtype, namely inflammatory adenoma, harbor somatic activating mutations of genes involved in the interleukin-6 pathway that lead to high C-reactive protein and serum amyloid A expression. The aim of our study was to investigate a series of benign hepatocellular neoplasms developed on cirrhotic livers and characterized by an unequivocal histological diagnosis. We performed a clinical, pathological, and molecular study of 10 benign hepatocellular neoplasms developed in three patients with cirrhosis. Markers allowing hepatocellular adenoma classification were assessed by quantitative real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry. Samples were sequenced for CTNNB1, HNF1A, IL6ST, GNAS, STAT3, and TERT (promoter) mutations. A control series of 32 classical macronodules developed in cirrhosis related to various etiologies was screened by immunohistochemistry and gene sequencing. The three patients had cirrhosis related to metabolic syndrome and/or alcohol intake; two had a single tumor, while the third developed more than 30 lesions. Microscopic examination showed well-differentiated neoplasms sharing features with inflammatory adenoma including inflammatory infiltrates, sinusoidal dilatation, and dystrophic vessels. Sequencing revealed classical hotspot somatic mutations (IL6ST, n=8; STAT3, n=1; and GNAS, n=1) known to be responsible for IL-6/JAK/STAT pathway activation. Two classical high-grade macronodules demonstrated high serum amyloid A and/or C-reactive protein expression, without gene mutations. Altogether, our findings support the existence of rare inflammatory adenoma developed in cirrhosis.

Lee H, Wang K, Johnson A, et al.
Comprehensive genomic profiling of extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma reveals a long tail of therapeutic targets.
J Clin Pathol. 2016; 69(5):403-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: We queried whether extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma featured clinically relevant genomic alterations that could lead to targeted therapy.
METHODS: Comprehensive genomic profiling by hybridisation capture of up to 315 genes was performed on 99 clinically advanced extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.
RESULTS: There were 60 male and 39 female patients with a median age of 60.5 years. A total of 400 alterations were identified (mean 4.0; range 0-13) in 84 genes. Eighty-two (83%) of extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma patients featured at least one clinically relevant genomic alterations including KRAS (43%); ERBB2 (9%), PTEN (7%); ATM and NF1 (6%) and CCND1, FBXW7, GNAS, MDM2 and NRAS (all at 5%). BRAF, BRCA2, CDK4, CDK6, FGFR1, FGFR3, PTCH1, RAF1 and STK11 were each altered in a single patient. No IDH1/2 mutations or FGFR2 gene fusions were identified.
CONCLUSIONS: Comprehensive genomic profiling of extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma differs significantly from intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and pancreatic adenocarcinoma, and reveals diverse opportunities for the use of targeted therapies.

Noguchi R, Yano H, Gohda Y, et al.
Molecular profiles of high-grade and low-grade pseudomyxoma peritonei.
Cancer Med. 2015; 4(12):1809-16 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP) is a rare disease exhibiting a distinct clinical feature caused by cancerous cells that produce mucinous fluid in the abdominal cavity. PMPs originate most frequently from the appendix and less frequently from the ovary. This disease can range from benign to malignant, and histologically, PMP is classified into two types: disseminated peritoneal adenomucinosis (DPAM) representing the milder phenotype, and peritoneal mucinous adenocarcinomas (PMCA) representing the aggressive phenotype. Although histological classification is clinically useful, the pathogenesis of PMP remains largely unknown. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying PMP, we analyzed 18 PMP tumors comprising 10 DPAMs and 8 PMCAs. DNA was extracted from tumor and matched non-tumorous tissues, and was sequenced using Ion AmpliSeq Cancer Panel containing 50 cancer-related genes. Analysis of the data identified a total of 35 somatic mutations in 10 genes, and all mutations were judged as pathological mutations. Mutations were frequently identified in KRAS (14/18) and GNAS (8/18). Interestingly, TP53 mutations were found in three of the eight PMCAs, but not in the DPAMs. PIK3CA and AKT1 mutations were also identified in two PMCAs, but not in the DPAMs. These results suggested that KRAS and/or GNAS mutations are common genetic features of PMP, and that mutations in TP53 and/or genes related to the PI3K-AKT pathway may render malignant properties to PMP. These findings may be useful for the understanding of tumor characteristics, and facilitate the development of therapeutic strategies.

Patel SP, Schwaederle M, Daniels GA, et al.
Molecular inimitability amongst tumors: implications for precision cancer medicine in the age of personalized oncology.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(32):32602-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Tumor sequencing has revolutionized oncology, allowing for detailed interrogation of the molecular underpinnings of cancer at an individual level. With this additional insight, it is increasingly apparent that not only do tumors vary within a sample (tumor heterogeneity), but also that each patient's individual tumor is a constellation of unique molecular aberrations that will require an equally unique personalized therapeutic regimen. We report here the results of 439 patients who underwent Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA)-certified next generation sequencing (NGS) across histologies. Among these patients, 98.4% had a unique molecular profile, and aside from three primary brain tumor patients with a single genetic lesion (IDH1 R132H), no two patients within a given histology were molecularly identical. Additionally, two sets of patients had identical profiles consisting of two mutations in common and no other anomalies. However, these profiles did not segregate by histology (lung adenocarcinoma-appendiceal cancer (KRAS G12D and GNAS R201C), and lung adenocarcinoma-liposarcoma (CDK4 and MDM2 amplification pairs)). These findings suggest that most advanced tumors are molecular singletons within and between histologies, and that tumors that differ in histology may still nonetheless exhibit identical molecular portraits, albeit rarely.

Tanigawa N, Yamaue H, Ohyama S, et al.
Exploratory phase II trial in a multicenter setting to evaluate the clinical value of a chemosensitivity test in patients with gastric cancer (JACCRO-GC 04, Kubota memorial trial).
Gastric Cancer. 2016; 19(2):350-60 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Although postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy with S-1, an oral fluoropyrimidine, has become a standard of care for gastric cancer in Japan, nonresponders may suffer from the cost and adverse reactions without clinical benefit. This multicenter exploratory phase II trial was conducted to see whether a chemosensitivity test, the collagen gel droplet embedded culture drug sensitivity test (CD-DST), can adequately select patients for chemotherapy.
METHODS: The CD-DST using four different concentrations of 5-fluorouracil was conducted with resected specimens from preregistered patients who underwent gastrectomy with D2 or more extensive lymphadenectomy. Patients who were histopathologically confirmed to have stage II or greater disease without distant metastasis were eligible for final enrollment. All patients underwent protocol-specified adjuvant chemotherapy with S-1. Three-year relapse-free survival was compared between patients determined as sensitive by the CD-DST (responders) and those deemed insensitive (nonresponders). Appropriate cutoff values for in vitro growth inhibition were defined when the hazard ratio for relapse in responders and the log-rank P values were at their minimum.
RESULTS: Of the 311 patients enrolled, 14 were ineligible and 27 failed to start the protocol treatment. The CD-DST failed in 64 other patients, and survival analyses were conducted with the remaining 206 patients (39 stage II disease, 155 stage III disease, and 12 stage IV disease). The outcome of patients who were determined to be responders was significantly superior to that of nonresponders regardless of the 5-fluorouracil concentrations, although no differences in clinicopathologic characteristics were observed between the two groups, except for age.
CONCLUSIONS: The CD-DST identified those who benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy. It deserves further evaluation in the setting of a prospective randomized trial. identifier: NCT00287755.

Auguste A, Bessière L, Todeschini AL, et al.
Molecular analyses of juvenile granulosa cell tumors bearing AKT1 mutations provide insights into tumor biology and therapeutic leads.
Hum Mol Genet. 2015; 24(23):6687-98 [PubMed] Related Publications
Juvenile granulosa cell tumors (JGCTs) of the ovary are pediatric neoplasms representing 5% of all granulosa cell tumors (GCTs). Most GCTs are of adult type (AGCTs) and bear a mutation in the FOXL2 gene. The molecular basis of JGCTs is poorly understood, although mutations in the GNAS gene have been reported. We have detected in-frame duplications within the oncogene AKT1 in >60% of the JGCTs studied. Here, to evaluate the functional impact of these duplications and the existence of potential co-driver alterations, we have sequenced the transcriptome of four JGCTs and compared them with control transcriptomes. A search for gene variants detected only private alterations probably unrelated with tumorigenesis, suggesting that tandem duplications are the best candidates to underlie tumor formation in the absence of GNAS alterations. We previously showed that the duplications were specific to JGCTs. However, the screening of eight AGCTs samples without FOXL2 mutation showed the existence of an AKT1 duplication in one case, also having a stromal luteoma. The analysis of RNA-Seq data pinpointed a series of differentially expressed genes, involved in cytokine and hormone signaling and cell division-related processes. Further analyses pointed to the existence of a possible dedifferentiation process and suggested that most of the transcriptomic dysregulation might be mediated by a limited set of transcription factors perturbed by AKT1 activation. Finally, we show that commercially available AKT inhibitors can modulate the in vitro activity of various mutated forms. These results shed light on the pathogenesis of JGCTs and provide therapeutic leads for a targeted treatment.

Kim J, Bretz CL, Lee S
Epigenetic instability of imprinted genes in human cancers.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2015; 43(22):10689-99 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Many imprinted genes are often epigenetically affected in human cancers due to their functional linkage to insulin and insulin-like growth factor signaling pathways. Thus, the current study systematically characterized the epigenetic instability of imprinted genes in multiple human cancers. First, the survey results from TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas) revealed that the expression levels of the majority of imprinted genes are downregulated in primary tumors compared to normal cells. These changes are also accompanied by DNA methylation level changes in several imprinted domains, such as the PEG3, MEST and GNAS domains. Second, these DNA methylation level changes were further confirmed manually using several sets of cancer DNA. According to the results, the Imprinting Control Regions of the PEG3, MEST and GNAS domains are indeed affected in breast, lung and ovarian cancers. This DNA methylation survey also revealed that evolutionarily conserved cis-regulatory elements within these imprinted domains are very variable in both normal and cancer cells. Overall, this study highlights the epigenetic instability of imprinted domains in human cancers and further suggests its potential use as cancer biomarkers.

Chevalier N, Paris F, Fontana S, et al.
Postpubertal Persistent Hyperestrogenemia in McCune-Albright Syndrome: Unilateral Oophorectomy Improved Fertility but Detected an Unexpected Borderline Epithelial Ovarian Tumor.
J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2015; 28(6):e169-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: McCune-Albright syndrome (MAS), due to a somatic mutation of the GNAS1 gene, begins usually in girls with peripheral precocious puberty. Ovarian autonomy may persist in adulthood with acyclic hyperestrogenemia, infertility, and a potential risk of estrogen-dependent cancer.
CASE: A 22-year-old woman, with MAS, was referred for infertility with left macropolycystic ovary, hyperestrogenemia, and chronic anovulation unsuccessfully treated by controlled hyperstimulation. Once ovarian cyst punctures and cDNA analysis verified that GNAS1 mutation was restricted to the left ovary, unilateral ovariectomy was performed. It improved right ovarian function, allowed an in vitro fertilization-induced pregnancy, but revealed an unexpected borderline epithelial ovarian tumor.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION: Several breast cancers have already been reported in young MAS patients but not a borderline epithelial ovarian tumor. In this context, we would recommend that persistent hyperestrogenemia in an adult be corrected and gynecological follow-up of the breasts, ovaries, and endometrium be implemented.

Pisanic TR, Athamanolap P, Poh W, et al.
DREAMing: a simple and ultrasensitive method for assessing intratumor epigenetic heterogeneity directly from liquid biopsies.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2015; 43(22):e154 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Many cancers comprise heterogeneous populations of cells at primary and metastatic sites throughout the body. The presence or emergence of distinct subclones with drug-resistant genetic and epigenetic phenotypes within these populations can greatly complicate therapeutic intervention. Liquid biopsies of peripheral blood from cancer patients have been suggested as an ideal means of sampling intratumor genetic and epigenetic heterogeneity for diagnostics, monitoring and therapeutic guidance. However, current molecular diagnostic and sequencing methods are not well suited to the routine assessment of epigenetic heterogeneity in difficult samples such as liquid biopsies that contain intrinsically low fractional concentrations of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) and rare epigenetic subclonal populations. Here we report an alternative approach, deemed DREAMing (Discrimination of Rare EpiAlleles by Melt), which uses semi-limiting dilution and precise melt curve analysis to distinguish and enumerate individual copies of epiallelic species at single-CpG-site resolution in fractions as low as 0.005%, providing facile and inexpensive ultrasensitive assessment of locus-specific epigenetic heterogeneity directly from liquid biopsies. The technique is demonstrated here for the evaluation of epigenetic heterogeneity at p14(ARF) and BRCA1 gene-promoter loci in liquid biopsies obtained from patients in association with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasms (MDS/MPN), respectively.

Välimäki N, Demir H, Pitkänen E, et al.
Whole-Genome Sequencing of Growth Hormone (GH)-Secreting Pituitary Adenomas.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015; 100(10):3918-27 [PubMed] Related Publications
CONTEXT: The somatic landscape of pituitary adenomas is largely unknown. Identification of somatic alterations aims at better understanding of tumor pathology.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of the study was a genome-wide characterization of somatic single-nucleotide variants, structural variants, and copy-number aberrations in somatotropinomas.
DESIGN AND SETTING: Whole-genome sequencing and single-nucleotide polymorphism array analyses were performed on 12 fresh-frozen somatotropinomas and their corresponding blood samples. All the coding somatic variants were confirmed by Sanger sequencing.
PATIENTS: Studied tumors were somatotropinomas. Apart from one AIP mutation-positive patient, all cases were mutation negative for the established germline mutations associated with pituitary adenomas.
INTERVENTION(S): There were no interventions.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Somatic variants were identified with an established computational pipeline and filtered against germline data. Somatic copy number alteration analyses were performed using segmentation-based approaches.
RESULTS: A genome-wide analysis revealed on average 129 somatic single-nucleotide variants per tumor. Further analysis of coding regions showed on average 2.3 single-nucleotide variants per tumor. The only recurrent somatic events were the oncogenic GNAS mutation (p.Arg201Cys) and shared chromosome losses (chromosomes 1, 6, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 22). Analysis of somatic structural variants revealed one tumor with a complex chromosomal rearrangement.
CONCLUSIONS: Somatotropinomas showed a low number of somatic genetic alterations. Whereas no novel recurrently mutated genes could be identified, the somatic landscape has potential to affect the Ca(2+) and ATP pathways known to be involved in the pituitary tumorigenesis. Further studies, eg, methylome and transcriptome analyses, are needed to investigate possible interplay between the recurrent chromosome losses and epigenetic factors.

Springer S, Wang Y, Dal Molin M, et al.
A combination of molecular markers and clinical features improve the classification of pancreatic cysts.
Gastroenterology. 2015; 149(6):1501-10 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: The management of pancreatic cysts poses challenges to both patients and their physicians. We investigated whether a combination of molecular markers and clinical information could improve the classification of pancreatic cysts and management of patients.
METHODS: We performed a multi-center, retrospective study of 130 patients with resected pancreatic cystic neoplasms (12 serous cystadenomas, 10 solid pseudopapillary neoplasms, 12 mucinous cystic neoplasms, and 96 intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms). Cyst fluid was analyzed to identify subtle mutations in genes known to be mutated in pancreatic cysts (BRAF, CDKN2A, CTNNB1, GNAS, KRAS, NRAS, PIK3CA, RNF43, SMAD4, TP53, and VHL); to identify loss of heterozygozity at CDKN2A, RNF43, SMAD4, TP53, and VHL tumor suppressor loci; and to identify aneuploidy. The analyses were performed using specialized technologies for implementing and interpreting massively parallel sequencing data acquisition. An algorithm was used to select markers that could classify cyst type and grade. The accuracy of the molecular markers was compared with that of clinical markers and a combination of molecular and clinical markers.
RESULTS: We identified molecular markers and clinical features that classified cyst type with 90%-100% sensitivity and 92%-98% specificity. The molecular marker panel correctly identified 67 of the 74 patients who did not require surgery and could, therefore, reduce the number of unnecessary operations by 91%.
CONCLUSIONS: We identified a panel of molecular markers and clinical features that show promise for the accurate classification of cystic neoplasms of the pancreas and identification of cysts that require surgery.

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