Gene Summary

Gene:NF1; neurofibromin 1
Aliases: WSS, NFNS, VRNF
Summary:This gene product appears to function as a negative regulator of the ras signal transduction pathway. Mutations in this gene have been linked to neurofibromatosis type 1, juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia and Watson syndrome. The mRNA for this gene is subject to RNA editing (CGA>UGA->Arg1306Term) resulting in premature translation termination. Alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding different isoforms have also been described for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Source:NCBIAccessed: 11 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 11 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 11 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (6)

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

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

Latest Publications: NF1 (cancer-related)

Carlson JA, Caldeira Xavier JC, Tarasen A, et al.
Next-Generation Sequencing Reveals Pathway Activations and New Routes to Targeted Therapies in Cutaneous Metastatic Melanoma.
Am J Dermatopathol. 2017; 39(1):1-13 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Comprehensive genomic profiling of clinical samples by next-generation sequencing (NGS) can identify one or more therapy targets for the treatment of metastatic melanoma (MM) with a single diagnostic test.
METHODS: NGS was performed on hybridization-captured, adaptor ligation-based libraries using DNA extracted from 4 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded sections cut at 10 microns from 30 MM cases. The exons of 182 cancer-related genes were fully sequenced using the Illumina HiSeq 2000 at an average sequencing depth of 1098X and evaluated for genomic alterations (GAs) including point mutations, insertions, deletions, copy number alterations, and select gene fusions/rearrangements. Clinically relevant GAs (CRGAs) were defined as those identifying commercially available targeted therapeutics or therapies in registered clinical trials.
RESULTS: The 30 American Joint Committee on Cancer Stage IV MM included 17 (57%) male and 13 (43%) female patients with a mean age of 59.5 years (range 41-83 years). All MM samples had at least 1 GA, and an average of 2.7 GA/sample (range 1-7) was identified. The mean number of GA did not differ based on age or sex; however, on average, significantly more GAs were identified in amelanotic and poorly differentiated MM. GAs were most commonly identified in BRAF (12 cases, 40%), CDKN2A (6 cases, 20%), NF1 (8 cases, 26.7%), and NRAS (6 cases, 20%). CRGAs were identified in all patients, and represented 77% of the GA (64/83) detected. The median and mean CRGAs per tumor were 2 and 2.1, respectively (range 1-7).
CONCLUSION: Comprehensive genomic profiling of MM, using a single diagnostic test, uncovers an unexpectedly high number of CRGA that would not be identified by standard of care testing. Moreover, NGS has the potential to influence therapy selection and can direct patients to enter relevant clinical trials evaluating promising targeted therapies.

Mahalingam M
NF1 and Neurofibromin: Emerging Players in the Genetic Landscape of Desmoplastic Melanoma.
Adv Anat Pathol. 2017; 24(1):1-14 [PubMed] Related Publications
Neurofibromatosis type I (NF1), a monogenic disorder with an autosomal dominant mode of inheritance, is caused by alterations in the NF1 gene which codes for the protein neurofibromin. Functionally, NF1 is a tumor suppressor as it is GTPase-activating protein that negatively regulates the MAPK pathway. More recently, much attention has focused on the role of NF1 and neurofibromin in melanoma as mutations in NF1 have been found to constitute 1 of the 4 distinct genomic categories of melanoma, with the other 3 comprising BRAF, NRAS, and "triple-wild-type" subtypes. In this review, we parse the literature on NF1 and neurofibromin with a view to clarifying and gaining a better understanding of their precise role/s in melanomagenesis. We begin with a historic overview, followed by details regarding structure and function and characterization of neural crest development as a model for genetic reversion in neoplasia. Melanogenesis in NF1 sets the stage for the discussion on the roles of NF1 and neurofibromin in neural crest-derived neoplasms including melanoma with particular emphasis on NF1 and neurofibromin as markers of melanocyte dedifferentiation in desmoplastic melanoma.

Amann VC, Ramelyte E, Thurneysen S, et al.
Developments in targeted therapy in melanoma.
Eur J Surg Oncol. 2017; 43(3):581-593 [PubMed] Related Publications
Melanomas are disease entities driven in part by the mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. The TCGA network recently defined four genetic subtypes based on the most prevalent significantly mutated genes, including mutant BRAF, mutant RAS (N/H/K), mutant NF1, and Triple wild-type melanoma (harboring none of the aforementioned mutations, but instead includes KIT, GNA and GNAQ mutations). The successful development of kinase inhibitors marked a milestone in the treatment of metastatic melanoma. Combination treatment with a BRAF- and MEK-inhibitor is the current standard of care for inoperable stage IIIC/IV BRAF-mutated melanoma. Recent data demonstrate excellent long-term outcome, especially in patients with normal baseline LDH levels, and confirm that there is a subset of BRAF inhibitor-naive patients who experience durable responses without progression on combination treatment. In the future, adding a third compound based on individual genetic alterations might further improve the outcome of targeted therapy.

Calì F, Chiavetta V, Ruggeri G, et al.
Mutation spectrum of NF1 gene in Italian patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 using Ion Torrent PGM™ platform.
Eur J Med Genet. 2017; 60(2):93-99 [PubMed] Related Publications
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is caused by mutations of the NF1 gene and is one of the most common human autosomal dominant disorders. The patient shows different signs on the skin and other organs from early childhood. The best known are six or more café au lait spots, axillary or inguinal freckling, increased risk of developing benign nerve sheath tumours and plexiform neurofibromas. Mutation detection is complex, due to the large gene size, the large variety of mutations and the presence of pseudogenes. Using Ion Torrent PGM™ Platform, 73 mutations were identified in 79 NF1 Italian patients, 51% of which turned out to be novel mutations. Pathogenic status of each variant was classified using "American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics" guidelines criteria, thus enabling the classification of 96% of the variants identified as being pathogenic. The use of Next Generation Sequencing has proven to be effective as for costs, and time for analysis, and it allowed us to identify a patient with NF1 mosaicism. Furthermore, we designed a new approach aimed to quantify the mosaicism percentage using electropherogram of capillary electrophoresis performed on Sanger method.

Mikirova N, Hunnunghake R, Scimeca RC, et al.
High-Dose Intravenous Vitamin C Treatment of a Child with Neurofibromatosis Type 1 and Optic Pathway Glioma: A Case Report.
Am J Case Rep. 2016; 17:774-781 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND In neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) disease, the loss of the tumor suppressor function of the neurofibromin gene leads to proliferation of neural tumors. In children, the most frequently identified tumor is the optic pathway glioma. CASE REPORT We describe the case of a 5-year-old child who was diagnosed with NF1 and optic pathway tumor onset at the age of 14 months. Because of the tumor progression, chemotherapy with carboplatin and vincristine was prescribed at this early age and continued for one year. As the progression of disease continued after chemotherapy, the child, at the age of 2.8 years, was started on high-dose intravenous vitamin C (IVC) treatment (7-15 grams per week) for 30 months. After 30 months, the results of IVC treatments demonstrated reduction and stabilization of the tumors in the optic chiasm, hypothalamus, and left optic nerve according to radiographic imaging. The right-sided optic nerve mass seen before IVC treatment disappeared by the end of the treatment. CONCLUSIONS This case highlights the positive effects of treating NF1 glioma with IVC. Additional studies are necessary to evaluate the role of high-dose IVC in glioma treatment.

Manfredini M, Pellacani G, Losi L, et al.
Desmoplastic melanoma: a challenge for the oncologist.
Future Oncol. 2017; 13(4):337-345 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: To evaluate clinical, pathologic and genetic features of desmoplastic melanoma (DM).
MATERIALS & METHODS: Analysis of all DM records from 1991 to 2015.
RESULTS: The most common location of DMs was the head and neck (69%); median age and follow-up were 60.5 and 7.3 years, respectively. A familial predisposition for DMs and others malignancies was analyzed. Thin Breslow thickness (<4.5 mm) was associated with an intraepidermal component or a previous lentigo maligna, whereas high Breslow thickness (>4.5 mm) was observed in 'pure' DM.
CONCLUSION: DM could progress from an early phase, characterized by an intraepidermal component, to late phase, characterized by a dermal nodule. This hypothesis correlates with melanoma genetic and NF1 mutation, which could be an early event in the progression of DM.

Yapijakis C, Adamopoulou M, Tasiouka K, et al.
Mutation Screening of Her-2, N-ras and Nf1 Genes in Brain Tumor Biopsies.
Anticancer Res. 2016; 36(9):4607-11 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: A deeper understanding of the complex molecular pathology of brain malignancies is needed in order to develop more effective and targeted therapies of these highly lethal disorders. In an effort to further enlighten the molecular pathology of brain oncogenesis involving the her-2 (erbB-2/neu/ngl)/N-ras/nf1 pathway, we screened the genotypes of specimens from various types of brain tumors.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The studied specimens included 35 biopsies of four general categories: 13 neuroglial tumors (4 astrocytomas, 2 oligodendrogliomas, 7 glioblastomas multiforme), 14 meningiomas, 3 other nervous system tumors (2 schwannomas, 1 craniopharyngioma) and 5 metastatic tumors (such as lung carcinomas and chronic myelocytic leukemia). Screening for most common mutations in oncogenes her-2, N-ras and tumor suppressor gene nf1 was conducted with molecular hybridization techniques (Southern blotting, dot blot and single-strand conformational polymorphism (SSCP) analysis, respectively), and was confirmed by DNA sequencing.
RESULTS: Gene amplification of her-2 was observed in only two cases (6%), namely in one glioblastoma and in one meningioma. Screening of 3 hot spot codons of the N-ras gene (12, 13 and 61) and subsequent DNA sequencing revealed mutations in 19 biopsies encompassing all categories (54%). Screening for mutations in exons of the nf1 gene by SSCP analysis detected a novel nonsense mutation in exon 31 in a unique case of a glioblastoma biopsy (3%) taken from a patient without neurofibromatosis type I.
CONCLUSION: Activated N-ras appears to be a major oncogene in brain oncogenesis, exhibiting the most important role in the her-2/N-ras/nf1 pathway.

Koczkowska M, Wierzba J, Śmigiel R, et al.
Genomic findings in patients with clinical suspicion of 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.
J Appl Genet. 2017; 58(1):93-98 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, one of the most common human genomic syndromes, has highly heterogeneous clinical presentation. Patients usually harbor a 1.5 to 3 Mb hemizygous deletion at chromosome 22q11.2, resulting in pathognomic TBX1, CRKL and/or MAPK1 haploinsufficiency. However, there are some individuals with clinical features resembling the syndrome who are eventually diagnosed with genomic disorders affecting other chromosomal regions. The objective of this study was to evaluate the additive value of high-resolution array-CGH testing in the cohort of 41 patients with clinical features of 22q11.2 deletion syndrome and negative results of standard cytogenetic diagnostic testing (karyotype and FISH for 22q11.2 locus). Array-CGH analysis revealed no aberrations at chromosomes 22 or 10 allegedly related to the syndrome. Five (12.2 %) patients were found to have other genomic imbalances, namely 17q21.31 microdeletion syndrome (MIM#610443), 1p36 deletion syndrome (MIM#607872), NF1 microduplication syndrome (MIM#613675), chromosome 6pter-p24 deletion syndrome (MIM#612582) and a novel interstitial deletion at 3q26.31 of 0.65 Mb encompassing a dosage-dependent gene NAALADL2. Our study demonstrates that the implementation of array-CGH into the panel of classic diagnostic procedures adds significantly to their efficacy. It allows for detection of constitutional genomic imbalances in 12 % of subjects with negative result of karyotype and FISH targeted for 22q11.2 region. Moreover, if used as first-tier genetic test, the method would provide immediate diagnosis in ∼40 % phenotypic 22q11.2 deletion subjects.

Pandit R, Khadilkar K, Sarathi V, et al.
Germline mutations and genotype-phenotype correlation in Asian Indian patients with pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma.
Eur J Endocrinol. 2016; 175(4):311-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Genetic aetiology of pheochromocytoma (PCC) and paraganglioma (PGL) is increasingly being studied; however, Asian Indian data on this aspect are scarce.
OBJECTIVE: To study the prevalence of germline mutations and genotype-phenotype correlation in Asian Indian PCC/PGL patients.
DESIGN: In this study, 150 index patients (M:F, 73:77) with PCC/PGL were evaluated. Phenotypic data were collected. Germline mutations in five susceptibility genes (RET, VHL, SDHB, SDHD and SDHC) were tested by sequencing and NF1 was diagnosed according to phenotype.
RESULT: Of the total population, 49 (32.7%) PCC/PGL patients had germline mutations (VHL: 23 (15.3%), RET: 13 (8.7%), SDHB: 9 (6%), SDHD: 2 (1.3%) and NF1: 2 (1.3%)). Amongst the 30 patients with familial and/or syndromic presentation, all had germline mutations (VHL: 14 (46.7%), RET: 13 (43.3%), SDHB: 1 (3.3%) and NF1: 2 (6.7%)). Out of 120 patients with apparently sporadic presentation, 19 (15.8%) had a germline mutation (VHL: 9 (7.5%), SDHB: 8 (6.7%) and SDHD: 2 (1.7%)). Mutation carriers were younger (29.9 ± 14.5 years vs 36.8 ± 14.9; P = 0.01) and had a higher prevalence of bilateral PCC (26.5% vs 2.9%, P < 0.001) and multifocal tumours (12.2% vs 0.96%, P = 0.06). Based on syndromic features, metastasis, location and number of tumours, around 96% mutations in our cohort could be detected by appropriately selected single gene testing.
CONCLUSION: Asian Indians with PCC/PGL differ from Western cohorts in having preponderance of VHL mutations in multifocal tumours and apparently sporadic unilateral PCC. Syndromic presentation, metastasis, location and number of PCC/PGL can be effectively used for guiding genetic prioritisation.

Hewitson H, Wood V, Kadeva N, et al.
Generation of KCL024 research grade human embryonic stem cell line carrying a mutation in NF1 gene.
Stem Cell Res. 2016; 16(2):243-5 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The KCL024 human embryonic stem cell line was derived from an embryo donated for research that carried an autosomal dominant mutation in the NF1 gene encoding neurofibromin (c.3739-3742 ∆TTTG). Mutations in this gene have been linked to neurofibromatosis type 1, juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia and Watson syndrome. The ICM was isolated using laser microsurgery and plated on γ-irradiated human foreskin fibroblasts. Both the derivation and cell line propagation were performed in an animal product-free environment. Pluripotent state and differentiation potential were confirmed by in vitro assays.

Patel AV, Chaney KE, Choi K, et al.
An ShRNA Screen Identifies MEIS1 as a Driver of Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors.
EBioMedicine. 2016; 9:110-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST) are rare soft tissue sarcomas that are a major source of mortality in neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) patients. To identify MPNST driver genes, we performed a lentiviral short hairpin (sh) RNA screen, targeting all 130 genes up-regulated in neurofibroma and MPNSTs versus normal human nerve Schwann cells. NF1 mutant cells show activation of RAS/MAPK signaling, so a counter-screen in RAS mutant carcinoma cells was performed to exclude common RAS-pathway driven genes. We identified 7 genes specific for survival of MPSNT cells, including MEIS1. MEIS1 was frequently amplified or hypomethylated in human MPSNTs, correlating with elevated MEIS1 gene expression. In MPNST cells and in a genetically engineered mouse model, MEIS1 expression in developing nerve glial cells was necessary for MPNST growth. Mechanistically, MEIS1 drives MPNST cell growth via the transcription factor ID1, thereby suppressing expression of the cell cycle inhibitor p27(Kip) and maintaining cell survival.

Evans DG, Bowers N, Burkitt-Wright E, et al.
Comprehensive RNA Analysis of the NF1 Gene in Classically Affected NF1 Affected Individuals Meeting NIH Criteria has High Sensitivity and Mutation Negative Testing is Reassuring in Isolated Cases With Pigmentary Features Only.
EBioMedicine. 2016; 7:212-20 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The detection rate for identifying the underlying mutation in neurocutaneous syndromes is affected by the sensitivity of the mutation test and the heterogeneity of the disease based on the diagnostic criteria. Neurofibromatosis type (NF1) has been defined for 29years by the National Institutes for Health (NIH) criteria which include ≥6 Café au Lait macules (CAL) as a defining criterion. The discovery of SPRED1 as a cause of Legius syndrome which is manifested by CAL, freckling and learning difficulties has introduced substantial heterogeneity to the NIH criteria.
METHODS: We have defined the sensitivity of comprehensive RNA analysis on blood of presumed NF1 patients meeting NIH criteria with at least one nonpigmentary criterion and determined the proportion of children with ≥6 CAL and no family history that has an NF1 or SPRED1 genetic variant. RNA analysis was carried out from 04/2009-12/2015 on 361 NF1 patients.
FINDINGS: A presumed causative NF1 mutation was found in 166/171 (97.08%-95% CI 94.56-99.6%) of familial cases and 182/190 (95.8%-95% CI 92.93-98.65%) sporadic de novo cases. Two of thirteen (15%) mutation negative individuals had dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumour (DNET) compared to 2/348 (0.6%) with an NF1 variant (p=0.007). No SPRED1 variants were found in the thirteen individuals with no NF1 variant. Of seventy-one individuals with ≥6 CAL and no non-pigmentary criterion aged 0-20years, 47 (66.2%) had an NF1 variant six (8.5%) a SPRED1 variant and 18 (25.3%) no disease causing variant. Using the 95.8% detection rate the likelihood of a child with ≥6 CAL having constitutional NF1 drops from 2/3 to 1/9 after negative RNA analysis.
INTERPRETATION: RNA analysis in individuals with presumed NF1 has high sensitivity and includes a small subset with DNET without an NF1 variant. Furthermore negative analysis for NF1/SPRED1 provides strong reassurance to children with ≥6 CAL that they are unlikely to have NF1.

Helfferich J, Nijmeijer R, Brouwer OF, et al.
Neurofibromatosis type 1 associated low grade gliomas: A comparison with sporadic low grade gliomas.
Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2016; 104:30-41 [PubMed] Related Publications
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is an autosomal dominant disorder, associated with a variable clinical phenotype including café-au-lait spots, intertriginous freckling, Lisch nodules, neurofibromas, optic pathway gliomas and distinctive bony lesions. NF1 is caused by a mutation in the NF1 gene, which codes for neurofibromin, a large protein involved in the MAPK- and the mTOR-pathway through RAS-RAF signalling. NF1 is a known tumour predisposition syndrome, associated with different tumours of the nervous system including low grade gliomas (LGGs) in the paediatric population. The focus of this review is on grade I pilocytic astrocytomas (PAs), the most commonly observed histologic subtype of low grade gliomas in NF1. Clinically, these PAs have a better prognosis and show different localisation patterns than their sporadic counterparts, which are most commonly associated with a KIAA1549:BRAF fusion. In this review, possible mechanisms of tumourigenesis in LGGs with and without NF1 will be discussed, including the contribution of different signalling pathways and tumour microenvironment. Furthermore we will discuss how increased understanding of tumourigenesis may lead to new potential targets for treatment.

Su SY, Zhou X, Pang XM, et al.
NF1 frameshift mutation (c.6520_6523delGAGA) association with nervous system tumors and bone abnormalities in a Chinese patient with neurofibromatosis type 1.
Genet Mol Res. 2016; 15(2) [PubMed] Related Publications
Neurofibromatosis type 1, also known as NF1 or von Recklinghausen's disease, is a common neurocutaneous syndrome that presents with multiple café-au-lait patches, skinfold freckling, dermatofibromas, neurofibromas, and Lisch nodules. The mutations of the gene NF1, encoding the protein neurofibromin, have been identified as the cause of this disease. Here, we report a clinical and molecular study of a Chinese patient with multiple café-au-lait skin freckles, dermatofibroma, central and peripheral nervous system tumors, and bone abnormalities attributed to NF1. The patient showed >6 café-au-lait spots on the body and multiple dermatofibromas. A brain glioma and multiple nerve sheath tumors inside and outside the vertebral canal were identified by magnetic resonance imaging, which also showed multiple intercostal nerve schwannomas and hydrocephalies above the cerebellar tentorium. Talipes equinus was also apparent. A mutation analysis of the NF1 gene revealed a novel frameshift mutation in exon 43, consisting of a heterozygous deletion of four nucleotides (GAGA) between positions 6520 and 6523. No NF1 mutations were detected in the patient's parents or younger brother. These results extend the list of known mutations in this gene. The absence of the NF1 mutation in the healthy family members suggests that it is responsible for the NF1 phenotype. To our knowledge, this frameshift mutation represents a novel NF1 case, and may be associated with nervous system tumors and bone abnormalities.

Kluwe L
Assessing Specificity of Anticancer Drugs In Vitro.
J Vis Exp. 2016; (109):e53752 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
A procedure for assessing specificity of anticancer drugs in vitro using cultures containing both tumor and non-tumor cells is demonstrated. The key element is the quantitative determination of a tumor-specific genetic alteration in relation to a universal sequence using a dual-probe digital PCR assay and the subsequent calculation of the proportion of tumor cells. The assay is carried out on a culture containing tumor cells of an established line and spiked-in non-tumor cells. The mixed culture is treated with a test drug at various concentrations. After the treatment, DNA is prepared directly from the survived adhesive cells in wells of 96-well plates using a simple and inexpensive method, and subjected to a dual-probe digital PCR assay for measuring a tumor-specific genetic alteration and a reference universal sequence. In the present demonstration, a heterozygous deletion of the NF1 gene is used as the tumor-specific genetic alteration and a RPP30 gene as the reference gene. Using the ratio NF1/RPP30, the proportion of tumor cells was calculated. Since the dose-dependent change of the proportion of tumor cells provides an in vitro indication for specificity of the drug, this genetic and cell-based in vitro assay will likely have application potential in drug discovery. Furthermore, for personalized cancer-care, this genetic- and cell-based tool may contribute to optimizing adjuvant chemotherapy by means of testing efficacy and specificity of candidate drugs using primary cultures of individual tumors.

Lalloo F
Diagnosis and Management of Hereditary Phaeochromocytoma and Paraganglioma.
Recent Results Cancer Res. 2016; 205:105-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
About 30% of phaeochromocytomas or paragangliomas are genetic. Whilst some individuals will have clinical features or a family history of inherited cancer syndrome such as neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) or multiple endocrine neoplasia 2 (MEN2), the majority will present as an isolated case. To date, 14 genes have been described in which pathogenic mutations have been demonstrated to cause paraganglioma or phaeochromocytoma . Many cases with a pathogenic mutation may be at risk of developing further tumours. Therefore, identification of genetic cases is important in the long-term management of these individuals, ensuring that they are entered into a surveillance programme. Mutation testing also facilitates cascade testing within the family, allowing identification of other at-risk individuals. Many algorithms have been described to facilitate cost-effective genetic testing sequentially of these genes, with phenotypically driven pathways. New genetic technologies including next-generation sequencing and whole-exome sequencing will allow much quicker, cheaper and extensive testing of individuals in whom a genetic aetiology is suspected.

Ilić A, Raljević S, Adzić T, et al.
Lung parenchima changes in neurofibromatosis type 1.
Vojnosanit Pregl. 2016; 73(2):202-4 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), also known as von Recklinghausen disease, is one of the most common single-gene disorders (mutation on chromosome 17q) and usually associated with cutaneous, musculoskeletal and neurological disorders in humans. NF1 is generally complicated with one or more neurobehavioral disorders or tumors located in the peripheral nervous system such as neurofibromas, peripheral nerve sheath tumor, pheochromocytoma, etc. In the available medical literature, the thoracic manifestations of NF1 have been rarely described in these patients. There are few reports about intrathoracic neurogenic tumors, kyphoscoliosis, pneu- monitis and pulmonary fibrosis in patients with NF1.
CASE REPORT: A 65-year-old female was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at the Lung Clinic of Belgrade University Clinical Center of Serbia. The patient's general condition was poor with shortness of breath and present cyanosis. At the same time, the skin changes similar to NF1 were noticed, which were additionally documented by her medical history and diagnosed as NF1. After the application of noninvasive mechanical ventilation and other emergency respiratory medicine measures, the patient soon felt better. The parenchymal changes were viewed by subsequent X-rays and CT scanning of the thorax.
CONCLUSION: This is a case report presenting the NF1 associated with the abnormality of lung parenchyma established during diagnostic procedures at the Intensive Care Unit, Clinic of Pulmonology.

Saito M, Shiraishi K, Kunitoh H, et al.
Gene aberrations for precision medicine against lung adenocarcinoma.
Cancer Sci. 2016; 107(6):713-20 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Lung adenocarcinoma (LADC), the most frequent histological type of lung cancer, is often triggered by an aberration in a driver oncogene in tumor cells. Examples of such aberrations are EGFR mutation and ALK fusion. Lung adenocarcinoma harboring such mutations can be treated with anticancer drugs that target the aberrant gene products. Additional oncogene aberrations, including RET, ROS1, and NRG1 fusions, skipping of exon 14 of MET, and mutations in BRAF, HER2, NF1, and MEK1, were recently added to the list of such "druggable" driver oncogene aberrations, and their responses to targeted therapies are currently being evaluated in clinical trials. However, approximately 30% and 50% of LADCs in patients in Japan and Europe/USA, respectively, lack the driver oncogene aberrations listed above. Therefore, novel therapeutic strategies, such as those that exploit the vulnerabilities of cancer cells with non-oncogene aberrations, are urgently required. This review summarizes the current status of research on precision medicine against LADC and enumerates the research priorities for the near future.

Myers AP, Filiaci VL, Zhang Y, et al.
Tumor mutational analysis of GOG248, a phase II study of temsirolimus or temsirolimus and alternating megestrol acetate and tamoxifen for advanced endometrial cancer (EC): An NRG Oncology/Gynecologic Oncology Group study.
Gynecol Oncol. 2016; 141(1):43-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Rapamycin analogs have reproducible but modest efficacy in endometrial cancer (EC). Identification of molecular biomarkers that predict benefit could guide clinical development.
METHODS: Fixed primary tissue and whole blood were collected prospectively from patients enrolled on GOG 248. DNA was isolated from macro-dissected tumors and blood; next-generation sequence analysis was performed on a panel of cancer related genes. Associations between clinical outcomes [response rate (RR) 20%; progression-free survival (PFS) median 4.9months] and mutations (PTEN, PIK3CA, PIK3R1, KRAS, CTNNB1, AKT1, TSC1, TSC2, NF1, FBXW7) were explored.
RESULTS: Sequencing data was obtained from tumors of 55 of the 73 enrolled pts. Mutation rates were consistent with published reports: mutations in PTEN (45%), PIK3CA (29%), PIK3R1 (24%), K-RAS (16%), CTNNB1 (18%) were common and mutations in AKT1 (4%), TSC1 (2%), TSC2 (2%), NF1 (9%) and FBXW7 (4%) were less common. Increased PFS (HR 0.16; 95% CI 0.01-0.78) and RR (response difference 0.83; 95% CI 0.03-0.99) were noted for AKT1 mutation. An increase in PFS (HR 0.46; 95% CI 0.20-0.97) but not RR (response difference 0.00, 95% CI -0.34-0.34) was identified for CTNNB1 mutation. Both patients with TSC mutations had an objective response. There were no statistically significant associations between mutations in PIK3CA, PTEN, PIK3R1, or KRAS and PFS or RR.
CONCLUSIONS: Mutations in AKT1, TSC1 and TSC2 are rare, but may predict clinical benefit from temsirolimus. CTNNB1 mutations were associated with longer PFS on temsirolimus.

Takeda H, Rust AG, Ward JM, et al.
Sleeping Beauty transposon mutagenesis identifies genes that cooperate with mutant Smad4 in gastric cancer development.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016; 113(14):E2057-65 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Mutations in SMAD4 predispose to the development of gastrointestinal cancer, which is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths. To identify genes driving gastric cancer (GC) development, we performed a Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon mutagenesis screen in the stomach of Smad4(+/-) mutant mice. This screen identified 59 candidate GC trunk drivers and a much larger number of candidate GC progression genes. Strikingly, 22 SB-identified trunk drivers are known or candidate cancer genes, whereas four SB-identified trunk drivers, including PTEN, SMAD4, RNF43, and NF1, are known human GC trunk drivers. Similar to human GC, pathway analyses identified WNT, TGF-β, and PI3K-PTEN signaling, ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis, adherens junctions, and RNA degradation in addition to genes involved in chromatin modification and organization as highly deregulated pathways in GC. Comparative oncogenomic filtering of the complete list of SB-identified genes showed that they are highly enriched for genes mutated in human GC and identified many candidate human GC genes. Finally, by comparing our complete list of SB-identified genes against the list of mutated genes identified in five large-scale human GC sequencing studies, we identified LDL receptor-related protein 1B (LRP1B) as a previously unidentified human candidate GC tumor suppressor gene. In LRP1B, 129 mutations were found in 462 human GC samples sequenced, and LRP1B is one of the top 10 most deleted genes identified in a panel of 3,312 human cancers. SB mutagenesis has, thus, helped to catalog the cooperative molecular mechanisms driving SMAD4-induced GC growth and discover genes with potential clinical importance in human GC.

Hutter S, Piro RM, Waszak SM, et al.
No correlation between NF1 mutation position and risk of optic pathway glioma in 77 unrelated NF1 patients.
Hum Genet. 2016; 135(5):469-75 [PubMed] Related Publications
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a common monogenic disorder whereby affected individuals are predisposed to developing CNS tumors, including optic pathway gliomas (OPGs, occurring in ~15 to 20 % of cases). So far, no definite genotype-phenotype correlation determining NF1 patients at risk for tumor formation has been described, although enrichment for mutations in the 5' region of the NF1 gene in OPG patients has been suggested. We used whole exome sequencing, targeted sequencing, and copy number analysis to screen 77 unrelated NF1 patients with (n = 41) or without (n = 36; age ≥10 years) optic pathway glioma for germline NF1 alterations. We identified germline NF1 mutations in 69 of 77 patients (90 %), but no genotype-phenotype correlation was observed. Our data using a larger patient cohort did not confirm the previously reported clustering of mutations in the 5' region of the NF1 gene in patients with OPG. Thus, NF1 mutation location should not currently be used as a clinical criterion to assess the risk of developing OPGs.

Zhu L, Zhang Y, Tong H, et al.
Clinical and Molecular Characterization of NF1 Patients: Single-Center Experience of 32 Patients From China.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2016; 95(10):e3043 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a hereditary disorder caused by mutations in the NF1 gene. Detecting mutation in NF1 is hindered by the gene's large size, the lack of mutation hotspots, and the presence of pseudogenes.Our goal was to establish a sensitive, feasible, and comparatively economical protocol to detect NF1 mutations using blood samples.We developed a method to screen patients for mutations. Thirty-two NF1 patients from 32 unrelated families and 120 unrelated population-match controls were investigated in this study. Specific primers were designed for NF1 to avoid pseudogenes. NF1 mutations were detected by sequencing at the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and complementary DNA (cDNA) levels, and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) and familial segregation analyses were used.Forty-four specific primers designed according to the NF1 structure were successfully used for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and DNA sequencing, which was more feasible and useful than cDNA sequencing. Thirty distinct NF1 mutations were identified in 32 patients. Thirteen mutations were novel and most were frameshift mutations (33.3%). Mutations were detected at a rate of 93.8%.Our study suggests that this sensitive, feasible, and comparatively economical protocol is effective for the detection of NF1 mutations.

Patócs A, Lendvai NK, Butz H, et al.
Novel SDHB and TMEM127 Mutations in Patients with Pheochromocytoma/Paraganglioma Syndrome.
Pathol Oncol Res. 2016; 22(4):673-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Pheochromocytomas (Pheo) and paragangliomas (PGL) are rare tumors, with heterogeneous genetic background. In up to 30 % of all, apparently sporadic Pheo/PGL cases germline mutations can be identified in one of the 15 genes representing genetic susceptibility for Pheo/PGL. Malignancy is rare but it frequently associates with SDHB mutations. Our aim was to determine the prevalence of germline SDHx, SDHAF2, MAX and TMEM127 mutations in Hungarian patients with apparently sporadic Pheo/PGLs. Mutation screening of the SDHx, SDHAF2, MAX and TMEM127 genes was performed in 82 Hungarian patients with apparently sporadic Pheo/PGL using PCR and bidirectional Sanger sequencing. Disease-causing germline mutations were identified in 11 patients, of which 4 SDHB and 2 TMEM127 mutations were novel. Earlier development of Pheo/PGL, more malignant phenotype and multiple tumors were observed in genetically positive cases especially in those with SDHB mutations. The presence of bilateral or multiple tumors was the most predictive for identification of a pathogenic mutation. Together with cases harboring germline RET, VHL and NF1 mutations, Hungarian patients with Pheo/PGL exhibit a heterogeneous mutation spectrum, indicating that all of the Pheo/PGL susceptibility genes should be tested. Novel genotype-phenotype associations revealed by our study may contribute to improvement of diagnostic approaches and may help to achieve a better clinical follow up for patients with Pheo/PGL.

Roth JJ, Fierst TM, Waanders AJ, et al.
Whole Chromosome 7 Gain Predicts Higher Risk of Recurrence in Pediatric Pilocytic Astrocytomas Independently From KIAA1549-BRAF Fusion Status.
J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2016; 75(4):306-15 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
The most frequent genetic alteration identified in pediatric pilocytic astrocytomas and pilomyxoid variant is the KIAA1549-BRAF fusion, which typically results from a 2.0 Mb tandem duplication in chromosome band 7q34. Less frequent abnormalities include fusion genes,BRAF, FGFR, KRAS, and NF1 point mutations, and whole chromosome gains. To correlate genetic alterations with clinical course data, we retrospectively analyzed the tumors with pilocytic and pilomyxoid histology of a cohort of 116 pediatric patients, aged 5 months to 23 years. Gross total resection was associated with a decreased risk of recurrence (p = 0.001), supporting previous findings that complete tumor excision correlates with long-term and disease-free survival. We found no significant association between recurrence rate and the presence of the KIAA1549-BRAF fusion or BRAF mutation (p = 0.167). Interestingly, gain of whole chromosome 7 (WC7) was associated with a 4.7-fold increased risk of tumor recurrence, even after adjusting for surgical status (p = 0.025), and other genetic alterations. Using fluorescence in situ hybridization, we demonstrated that when WC7 gain accompanies the KIAA1549-BRAF fusion, the fusion likely arises first. This study highlights the utility of genetic studies for risk assessment of pilocytic and pilomyxoid astrocytomas, which may impact treatment selections.

Koso H, Yi H, Sheridan P, et al.
Identification of RNA-Binding Protein LARP4B as a Tumor Suppressor in Glioma.
Cancer Res. 2016; 76(8):2254-64 [PubMed] Related Publications
Transposon-based insertional mutagenesis is a valuable method for conducting unbiased forward genetic screens to identify cancer genes in mice. We used this system to elucidate factors involved in the malignant transformation of neural stem cells into glioma-initiating cells. We identified an RNA-binding protein, La-related protein 4b (LARP4B), as a candidate tumor-suppressor gene in glioma. LARP4B expression was consistently decreased in human glioma stem cells and cell lines compared with normal neural stem cells. Moreover, heterozygous deletion of LARP4B was detected in nearly 80% of glioblastomas in The Cancer Genome Atlas database. LARP4B loss was also associated with low expression and poor patient survival. Overexpression of LARP4B in glioma cell lines strongly inhibited proliferation by inducing mitotic arrest and apoptosis in four of six lines as well as in two patient-derived glioma stem cell populations. The expression levels of CDKN1A and BAX were also upregulated upon LARP4B overexpression, and the growth-inhibitory effects were partially dependent on p53 (TP53) activity in cells expressing wild-type, but not mutant, p53. We further found that the La module, which is responsible for the RNA chaperone activity of LARP4B, was important for the growth-suppressive effect and was associated with BAX mRNA. Finally, LARP4B depletion in p53 and Nf1-deficient mouse primary astrocytes promoted cell proliferation and led to increased tumor size and invasiveness in xenograft and orthotopic models. These data provide strong evidence that LARP4B serves as a tumor-suppressor gene in glioma, encouraging further exploration of the RNA targets potentially involved in LARP4B-mediatd growth inhibition. Cancer Res; 76(8); 2254-64. ©2016 AACR.

Rhodes SD, Yang FC
Aberrant Myeloid Differentiation Contributes to the Development of Osteoporosis in Neurofibromatosis Type 1.
Curr Osteoporos Rep. 2016; 14(1):10-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), also known as von Recklinghausen disease, is a common autosomal dominant genetic disorder affecting approximately 1 in 3000 individuals worldwide. NF1 results from heritable or spontaneous mutations of the NF1 tumor suppressor gene. NF1 encodes the protein neurofibromin, which functions to negatively regulate Ras-activity. Approximately 50 % of NF1 patients develop osteopenia or osteoporosis, resulting in significantly increased rates of long-bone fracture and morbidity. While defective osteoblast bone anabolism has been implicated as a central factor in the pathogenesis of NF1 associated skeletal deficits, recent data suggest that NF1 (Nf1) haploinsufficiency within the hematopoietic compartment, particularly in osteoclasts and myeloid progenitors, plays a pivotal role in engendering NF1 osseous manifestations. In this chapter, we review the latest data from clinical studies and murine models delineating a critical role for hematopoietic compartment, myeloid progenitors of NF1 (Nf1) haploinsufficient and their progeny-osteoclasts, in the pathogenesis of NF1 associated osteopenia/osteoporosis and discuss putative targets for future therapeutics.

Cha S, Lee J, Shin JY, et al.
Clinical application of genomic profiling to find druggable targets for adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer patients with metastasis.
BMC Cancer. 2016; 16:170 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Although adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancers are characterized by biological features and clinical outcomes distinct from those of other age groups, the molecular profile of AYA cancers has not been well defined. In this study, we analyzed cancer genomes from rare types of metastatic AYA cancers to identify driving and/or druggable genetic alterations.
METHODS: Prospectively collected AYA tumor samples from seven different patients were analyzed using three different genomics platforms (whole-exome sequencing, whole-transcriptome sequencing or OncoScan™). Using well-known bioinformatics tools (bwa, Picard, GATK, MuTect, and Somatic Indel Detector) and our annotation approach with open access databases (DAVID and DGIdb), we processed sequencing data and identified driving genetic alterations and their druggability.
RESULTS: The mutation frequencies of AYA cancers were lower than those of other adult cancers (median = 0.56), except for a germ cell tumor with hypermutation. We identified patient-specific genetic alterations in candidate driving genes: RASA2 and NF1 (prostate cancer), TP53 and CDKN2C (olfactory neuroblastoma), FAT1, NOTCH1, and SMAD4 (head and neck cancer), KRAS (urachal carcinoma), EML4-ALK (lung cancer), and MDM2 and PTEN (liposarcoma). We then suggested potential drugs for each patient according to his or her altered genes and related pathways. By comparing candidate driving genes between AYA cancers and those from all age groups for the same type of cancer, we identified different driving genes in prostate cancer and a germ cell tumor in AYAs compared with all age groups, whereas three common alterations (TP53, FAT1, and NOTCH1) in head and neck cancer were identified in both groups.
CONCLUSION: We identified the patient-specific genetic alterations and druggability of seven rare types of AYA cancers using three genomics platforms. Additionally, genetic alterations in cancers from AYA and those from all age groups varied by cancer type.

Woodfield SE, Zhang L, Scorsone KA, et al.
Binimetinib inhibits MEK and is effective against neuroblastoma tumor cells with low NF1 expression.
BMC Cancer. 2016; 16:172 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Novel therapies are needed for children with high-risk and relapsed neuroblastoma. We hypothesized that MAPK/ERK kinase (MEK) inhibition with the novel MEK1/2 inhibitor binimetinib would be effective in neuroblastoma preclinical models.
METHODS: Levels of total and phosphorylated MEK and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) were examined in primary neuroblastoma tumor samples and in neuroblastoma cell lines by Western blot. A panel of established neuroblastoma tumor cell lines was treated with increasing concentrations of binimetinib, and their viability was determined using MTT assays. Western blot analyses were performed to examine changes in total and phosphorylated MEK and ERK and to measure apoptosis in neuroblastoma tumor cells after binimetinib treatment. NF1 protein levels in neuroblastoma cell lines were determined using Western blot assays. Gene expression of NF1 and MEK1 was examined in relationship to neuroblastoma patient outcomes.
RESULTS: Both primary neuroblastoma tumor samples and cell lines showed detectable levels of total and phosphorylated MEK and ERK. IC50 values for cells sensitive to binimetinib ranged from 8 nM to 1.16 μM, while resistant cells did not demonstrate any significant reduction in cell viability with doses exceeding 15 μM. Sensitive cells showed higher endogenous expression of phosphorylated MEK and ERK. Gene expression of NF1, but not MEK1, correlated with patient outcomes in neuroblastoma, and NF1 protein expression also correlated with responses to binimetinib.
CONCLUSIONS: Neuroblastoma tumor cells show a range of sensitivities to the novel MEK inhibitor binimetinib. In response to binimetinib, sensitive cells demonstrated complete loss of phosphorylated ERK, while resistant cells demonstrated either incomplete loss of ERK phosphorylation or minimal effects on MEK phosphorylation, suggesting alternative mechanisms of resistance. NF1 protein expression correlated with responses to binimetinib, supporting the use of NF1 as a biomarker to identify patients that may respond to MEK inhibition. MEK inhibition therefore represents a potential new therapeutic strategy for neuroblastoma.

Wu J, Keng VW, Patmore DM, et al.
Insertional Mutagenesis Identifies a STAT3/Arid1b/β-catenin Pathway Driving Neurofibroma Initiation.
Cell Rep. 2016; 14(8):1979-90 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
To identify genes and signaling pathways that initiate Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) neurofibromas, we used unbiased insertional mutagenesis screening, mouse models, and molecular analyses. We mapped an Nf1-Stat3-Arid1b/β-catenin pathway that becomes active in the context of Nf1 loss. Genetic deletion of Stat3 in Schwann cell progenitors (SCPs) and Schwann cells (SCs) prevents neurofibroma formation, decreasing SCP self-renewal and β-catenin activity. β-catenin expression rescues effects of Stat3 loss in SCPs. Importantly, P-STAT3 and β-catenin expression correlate in human neurofibromas. Mechanistically, P-Stat3 represses Gsk3β and the SWI/SNF gene Arid1b to increase β-catenin. Knockdown of Arid1b or Gsk3β in Stat3(fl/fl);Nf1(fl/fl);DhhCre SCPs rescues neurofibroma formation after in vivo transplantation. Stat3 represses Arid1b through histone modification in a Brg1-dependent manner, indicating that epigenetic modification plays a role in early tumorigenesis. Our data map a neural tumorigenesis pathway and support testing JAK/STAT and Wnt/β-catenin pathway inhibitors in neurofibroma therapeutic trials.

Mukherjee S, Ma Z, Wheeler S, et al.
Chromosomal microarray provides enhanced targetable gene aberration detection when paired with next generation sequencing panel in profiling lung and colorectal tumors.
Cancer Genet. 2016; 209(4):119-29 [PubMed] Related Publications
The development of targeted therapies based on specific genomic alterations has altered the treatment and management of lung and colorectal cancers. Chromosomal microarray (CMA) has allowed identification of copy number variations (CNVs) in lung and colorectal cancers in great detail, and next-generation sequencing (NGS) is used extensively to analyze the genome of cancers for molecular subtyping and use of molecularly guided therapies. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the utility of combining CMA and NGS for a comprehensive genomic assessment of lung and colorectal adenocarcinomas, especially for detecting drug targets. We compared the results from NGS and CMA data from 60 lung and 51 colorectal tumors. From CMA analysis, 33% were amplified, 89% showed gains, 75% showed losses and 41% demonstrated loss of heterozygosity; pathogenic variants were identified in 81% of colon and 67% lung specimens through NGS. KRAS mutations commonly occurred with loss in TP53 and there was significant loss of BRCA1 and NF1 among male patients with lung cancer. For clinically actionable targets, 23% had targetable CNVs when no pathogenic variants were detected by NGS. The data thus indicate that combining the two approaches provides significant benefit in a routine clinical setting not available by NGS alone.

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