Research IndicatorsGraph generated 09 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.
Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic. Tag cloud generated 09 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).
OMIM, Johns Hopkin University
Referenced article focusing on the relationship between phenotype and genotype.
International Cancer Genome Consortium.
Summary of gene and mutations by cancer type from ICGC
COSMIC, Sanger Institute
Somatic mutation information and related details
GEO Profiles, NCBI
Search the gene expression profiles from curated DataSets in the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) repository.
Latest Publications: SDHAF2 (cancer-related)
The paraganglioma (PGL) syndromes types 1-5 are autosomal dominant disorders characterized by familial predisposition to PGLs, phaeochromocytomas (PCs), renal cell cancers, gastrointestinal stromal tumours and, rarely, pituitary adenomas. Each syndrome is associated with mutation in a gene encoding a particular subunit (or assembly factor) of succinate dehydrogenase (SDHx). The clinical manifestations of these syndromes are protean: patients may present with features of catecholamine excess (including the classic triad of headache, sweating and palpitations), or with symptoms from local tumour mass, or increasingly as an incidental finding on imaging performed for some other purpose. As genetic testing for these syndromes becomes more widespread, presymptomatic diagnosis is also possible, although penetrance of disease in these syndromes is highly variable and tumour development does not clearly follow a predetermined pattern. PGL1 syndrome (SDHD) and PGL2 syndrome (SDHAF2) are notable for high frequency of multifocal tumour development and for parent-of-origin inheritance: disease is almost only ever manifest in subjects inheriting the defective allele from their father. PGL4 syndrome (SDHB) is notable for an increased risk of malignant PGL or PC. PGL3 syndrome (SDHC) and PGL5 syndrome (SDHA) are less common and appear to be associated with lower penetrance of tumour development. Although these syndromes are all associated with SDH deficiency, few genotype-phenotype relationships have yet been established, and indeed it is remarkable that such divergent phenotypes can arise from disruption of a common molecular pathway. This article reviews the clinical presentations of these syndromes, including their component tumours and underlying genetic basis.
Rich T, Jackson M, Roman-Gonzalez A, et al.Metastatic sympathetic paraganglioma in a patient with loss of the SDHC gene.
Fam Cancer. 2015; 14(4):615-9 [PubMed
] Related Publications
Mutation of the genes encoding the succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) subunits A, B, C, or D, or the SDHAF2 protein, cause the SDHx-hereditary paraganglioma syndromes. Hereditary susceptibility to metastatic sympathetic pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas is most commonly due to germline mutations in the SDHB gene. Individuals with SDHD mutations occasionally present with metastatic disease, while conversely malignant paragangliomas are rarely observed in SDHC carriers. A 43 year-old woman presented with an abdominal paraganglioma metastatic to the skeleton and multiple lymph nodes. The tumor produced excessive amounts of noradrenaline causing hypertension and symptoms of catecholamine excess. The patient underwent surgical resection of the primary tumor and lymph node metastases. Loss of SDHB protein expression in the primary tumor was demonstrated by immunohistochemistry. Germline sequencing and deletion testing revealed a large allelic deletion of exons 1-6 in SDHC, and no mutations or deletions were detected in SDHB or SDHD. The patient's mother died because of kidney cancer. Hereditary pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas may be associated with a deletion of the SDHC gene. These patients may present with malignant sympathetic paragangliomas.
Zhu WD, Wang ZY, Chai YC, et al.Germline mutations and genotype-phenotype associations in head and neck paraganglioma patients with negative family history in China.
Eur J Med Genet. 2015; 58(9):433-8 [PubMed
] Related Publications
The aim of this study was to assess the frequency of germline mutations and to explore genotype-phenotype associations in Chinese head and neck paraganglioma (HNPGL) patients without family history. Twenty-six Chinese patients with a diagnosis of HNPGL（14 male and 12 female, respectively）were recruited, who were followed up from 2000 to 2012. Genomic DNA was obtained from resected tumor tissues and peripheral blood samples. Seven genes, Succinate dehydrogenase complex A,B,C,D (SDHA, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD), succinate dehydrogenase complex assembly factor 2 (SDHAF2), TMEM127 (transmembrane protein 127) and VHL (Von Hippel-Lindau), were screened by direct sequencing and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) was performed to search for potential large deletions or duplications of SDHB, SDHC, SDHD, SDHAF1 and SDHAF2. The total frequency of germline mutations was 30.8% (8/26), including 5 cases with missense mutation p.Met1Ile in SDHD, 1 case with missense mutation p.Tyr216Cys in SDHB, and 1 case with a novel truncation mutation p.Gln44Ter in SDHAF2. MLPA showed one patient with malignant HNPGL had heterozygous deletions of exon1, 2, 3, 7 and 8 in SDHB. Mutations in SDHD were the leading cause of HNPGL in this study. Mutation carriers were younger than non-mutation carriers (p < 0.01) and more likely to suffer from multiple tumors (p = 0.048), especially with mutations in SDHD. The presence of mutation was associated with the development of larger tumors (p = 0.021). This study confirmed that the missense mutation p.Met1Ile at the start codon in SDHD was a hotspot in chinese patients with HNPGLs. We recommend genetic analysis in patients below 45 years, especially SDHD gene.
Bugalho MJ, Silva AL, Domingues RCoexistence of paraganglioma/pheochromocytoma and papillary thyroid carcinoma: a four-case series analysis.
Fam Cancer. 2015; 14(4):603-7 [PubMed
] Related Publications
The paraganglioma (PGL)/pheochromocytoma (PHEO)-papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) dyad has been reported rarely. Whether the association is coincidental or results from an underlying genetic predisposition is difficult to ascertain. We analyzed clinical and molecular data on four unrelated patients identified and treated by one of us (MJB) at a tertiary center. Patients were screened for germline variants in a panel of candidate genes: RET, VHL, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD, SDHAF2, TMEM127, MAX, PTEN, CDKN1B. All patients were female; median age at diagnosis of PGL/PHEO was 45 years and at diagnosis of PTC was 49.5 years. Only one patient had family history of thyroid cancer. PTC was multifocal in 2 cases, of the classical type in 2 cases and of the follicular type in 2 cases. Two patients harbored heterozygous germline variants of uncertain significance in the SDHB gene: Ser163Pro and Ala3Gly. The -79T>C polymorphism in the CDKN1B gene was present in all patients (3 in homozygous and 1 in heterozygous state). Results deriving from a comprehensive analysis of a panel of genes suggest that there is no single explanation for the association PGL/PHEO-PTC. It may occur through different mechanisms such as the combinatorial effect of different genetic variants, be a coincidental association or, alternatively, result from genetic variants in genes still awaiting identification.
Hoekstra AS, Devilee P, Bayley JPModels of parent-of-origin tumorigenesis in hereditary paraganglioma.
Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2015; 43:117-24 [PubMed
] Related Publications
Paraganglioma and pheochromocytoma are neuroendocrine tumors that originate from either the sympathetic or the parasympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system. Although 14 different genes have been linked to paraganglioma/pheochromocytoma, a subgroup of these genes is associated with hereditary paraganglioma-pheochromocytoma, the genes related to mitochondrial succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) including SDHA, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD and the assembly factor SDHAF2. Unlike mutations in other SDH subunit genes, mutations in SDHD and SDHAF2 show a remarkable parent-of-origin dependent tumorigenesis in which tumor formation almost exclusively occurs following paternal transmission of the mutation. To date, three different models have sought to explain the striking inheritance pattern seen in SDHD and SDHAF2-linked families. Despite the fact that the models suffer to varying degrees from a lack of experimental verification, all three models have made some attempt to incorporate current data and understanding of this phenomenon. In this review, we discuss our present understanding of this phenomenon and describe the three models that seek to explain the inheritance pattern in SDHD and SDHAF2-linked families.
Crona J, Backman S, Maharjan R, et al.Spatiotemporal Heterogeneity Characterizes the Genetic Landscape of Pheochromocytoma and Defines Early Events in Tumorigenesis.
Clin Cancer Res. 2015; 21(19):4451-60 [PubMed
] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma (PPGL) patients display heterogeneity in the clinical presentation and underlying genetic cause. The degree of inter- and intratumor genetic heterogeneity has not yet been defined.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: In PPGLs from 94 patients, we analyzed LOH, copy-number variations, and mutation status of SDHA, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD, SDHAF2, VHL, EPAS1, NF1, RET, TMEM127, MAX, and HRAS using high-density SNP array and targeted deep sequencing, respectively. Genetic heterogeneity was determined through (i) bioinformatics analysis of individual samples that estimated absolute purity and ploidy from SNP array data and (ii) comparison of paired tumor samples that allowed reconstruction of phylogenetic trees.
RESULTS: Mutations were found in 61% of the tumors and correlated with specific patterns of somatic copy-number aberrations (SCNA) and degree of nontumoral cell admixture. Intratumor genetic heterogeneity was observed in 74 of 136 samples using absolute bioinformatics estimations and in 22 of 24 patients by comparison of paired samples. In addition, a low genetic concordance was observed between paired primary tumors and distant metastases. This allowed for reconstructing the life history of individual tumors, identifying somatic mutations as well as copy-number loss of 3p and 11p (VHL subgroup), 1p (Cluster 2), and 17q (NF1 subgroup) as early events in PPGL tumorigenesis.
CONCLUSIONS: Genomic landscapes of PPGL are specific to mutation subtype and characterized by genetic heterogeneity both within and between tumor lesions of the same patient.
Rijken JA, Niemeijer ND, Corssmit EP, et al.Low penetrance of paraganglioma and pheochromocytoma in an extended kindred with a germline SDHB exon 3 deletion.
Clin Genet. 2016; 89(1):128-32 [PubMed
] Related Publications
In the Netherlands, the majority of hereditary paragangliomas (PGL) is caused by SDHD, SDHB and SDHAF2 mutations. Founder mutations in SDHD are particularly prevalent, but several SDHB founder mutations have also been described. Here, we describe an extended PGL family with a Dutch founder mutation in SDHB, c.201-4429_287-933del. The proband presented with apparently sporadic head and neck paraganglioma at advanced age. Subsequently, evaluation of the family identified several unaffected mutation carriers, asymptomatic and symptomatic PGL patients, and patients presenting with early-onset malignant pheochromocytoma. The calculated penetrance of the SDHB mutation in this kindred is lower than the risk suggested for SDHB mutations in the literature. This may represent a characteristic of this particular SDHB mutation, but may also be a reflection of the inclusion of relatively large numbers of asymptomatic mutation carriers in this family and adequate statistical correction for ascertainment bias. The low penetrance of SDHB mutations may obscure the hereditary nature of SDHB-linked disease and is important in the counseling of SDHB-linked patients. Risk estimates should preferably be based on the specific mutation involved.
von Dobschuetz E, Leijon H, Schalin-Jäntti C, et al.A registry-based study of thyroid paraganglioma: histological and genetic characteristics.
Endocr Relat Cancer. 2015; 22(2):191-204 [PubMed
] Related Publications
The precise diagnosis of thyroid neoplasias will guide surgical management. Primary thyroid paraganglioma has been rarely reported. Data on prevalence, immunohistochemistry (IHC), and molecular genetics in a systematic series of such patients are pending. We performed a multinational population-based study on thyroid paraganglioma and analyzed prevalence, IHC, and molecular genetics. Patients with thyroid paraganglioma were recruited from the European-American-Head-and-Neck-Paraganglioma-Registry. Demographic and clinical data were registered. Histopathology and IHC were re-investigated. All patients with thyroid paraganglioma underwent molecular genetic analyses of the SDHA, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD, SDHAF2, VHL, RET, TMEM127, and MAX genes. Analyses included Sanger sequencing and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) for detection of large rearrangements. Of 947 registrants, eight candidates were initially identified. After immunohistochemical analyses of these eight subjects, 5 (0.5%) were confirmed to have thyroid paraganglioma. IHC was positive for chromogranin, synaptophysin, and S-100 and negative for calcitonin in all five thyroid paragangliomas, whereas the three excluded candidate tumors stained positive for pan-cytokeratin, a marker excluding endocrine tumors. Germline variants, probably representing mutations, were found in four of the five confirmed thyroid paraganglioma cases, two each in SDHA and SDHB, whereas the excluded cases had no mutations in the tested genes. Thyroid paraganglioma is a finite entity, which must be differentiated from medullary thyroid carcinoma, because medical, surgical, and genetic management for each is different. Notably, approximately 80% of thyroid paragangliomas are associated with germline variants, with implications for additional tumors and a potential risk for the family. As opposed to sporadic tumors, surgical management and extent of resection are different for heritable tumors, each guided by the precise gene involved.
Dénes J, Swords F, Rattenberry E, et al.Heterogeneous genetic background of the association of pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma and pituitary adenoma: results from a large patient cohort.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015; 100(3):E531-41 [PubMed
] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
CONTEXT: Pituitary adenomas and pheochromocytomas/paragangliomas (pheo/PGL) can occur in the same patient or in the same family. Coexistence of the two diseases could be due to either a common pathogenic mechanism or a coincidence.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of the investigation was to study the possible coexistence of pituitary adenoma and pheo/PGL.
DESIGN: Thirty-nine cases of sporadic or familial pheo/PGL and pituitary adenomas were investigated. Known pheo/PGL genes (SDHA-D, SDHAF2, RET, VHL, TMEM127, MAX, FH) and pituitary adenoma genes (MEN1, AIP, CDKN1B) were sequenced using next generation or Sanger sequencing. Loss of heterozygosity study and pathological studies were performed on the available tumor samples.
SETTING: The study was conducted at university hospitals.
PATIENTS: Thirty-nine patients with sporadic of familial pituitary adenoma and pheo/PGL participated in the study.
OUTCOME: Outcomes included genetic screening and clinical characteristics.
RESULTS: Eleven germline mutations (five SDHB, one SDHC, one SDHD, two VHL, and two MEN1) and four variants of unknown significance (two SDHA, one SDHB, and one SDHAF2) were identified in the studied genes in our patient cohort. Tumor tissue analysis identified LOH at the SDHB locus in three pituitary adenomas and loss of heterozygosity at the MEN1 locus in two pheochromocytomas. All the pituitary adenomas of patients affected by SDHX alterations have a unique histological feature not previously described in this context.
CONCLUSIONS: Mutations in the genes known to cause pheo/PGL can rarely be associated with pituitary adenomas, whereas mutation in a gene predisposing to pituitary adenomas (MEN1) can be associated with pheo/PGL. Our findings suggest that genetic testing should be considered in all patients or families with the constellation of pheo/PGL and a pituitary adenoma.
Favier J, Amar L, Gimenez-Roqueplo APParaganglioma and phaeochromocytoma: from genetics to personalized medicine.
Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2015; 11(2):101-11 [PubMed
] Related Publications
Paragangliomas and phaeochromocytomas are neuroendocrine tumours whose pathogenesis and progression are very strongly influenced by genetics. A germline mutation in one of the susceptibility genes identified so far explains ∼40% of all cases; the remaining 60% are thought to be sporadic cases. At least one-third of these sporadic tumours contain a somatic mutation in a predisposing gene. Genetic testing, which is indicated in every patient, is guided by the clinical presentation as well as by the secretory phenotype and the immunohistochemical characterization of the tumours. The diagnosis of an inherited form drives clinical management and tumour surveillance. Different 'omics' profiling methods have provided a neat classification of these tumours in accordance with their genetic background. Transcriptomic studies have identified two main molecular pathways that underlie development of these tumours, one in which the hypoxic pathway is activated (cluster 1) and another in which the MAPK and mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) signalling pathways are activated (cluster 2). DNA methylation profiling has uncovered a hypermethylator phenotype in tumours related to SDHx genes (a group of genes comprising SDHA, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD and SDHAF2) and revealed that succinate acts as an oncometabolite, inhibiting 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenases, such as hypoxia-inducible factor prolyl-hydroxylases and histone and DNA demethylases. 'Omics' data have suggested new therapeutic targets for patients with a malignant tumour. In the near future, new 'omics'-based tests are likely to be transferred into clinical practice with the goal of establishing personalized medical management for affected patients.
Casey R, Garrahy A, Tuthill A, et al.Universal genetic screening uncovers a novel presentation of an SDHAF2 mutation.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014; 99(7):E1392-6 [PubMed
] Related Publications
CONTEXT: Hereditary pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma (PC/PGL) accounts for up to 60% of previously considered sporadic tumors. Guidelines suggest that phenotype should guide genetic testing. Next-generation sequencing technology can simultaneously sequence 9 of the 18 known susceptibility genes in a timely, cost-efficient manner.
OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to confirm that universal screening is superior to targeted testing in patients with histologically confirmed PC and PGL.
METHODS: In two tertiary referral hospitals in Ireland, NGS was carried out on all histologically confirmed cases of PC/PGL diagnosed between 2004 and 2013. The following susceptibility genes were sequenced: VHL, RET, SDHA, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD, SDHAF2, TMEM127, and MAX. A multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification analysis was performed in VHL, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD, and SDHAF2 genes to detect deletions and duplications.
RESULTS: A total of 31 patients were tested, 31% (n = 10) of whom were found to have a genetic mutation. Of those patients with a positive genotype, phenotype predicted genotype in only 50% (n = 5). Significant genetic mutations that would have been missed in our cohort by phenotypic evaluation alone include a mutation in TMEM127, two mutations in SDHAF2, and two mutations in RET. Target testing would have identified three of the latter mutations based on age criteria. However, 20% of patients (n = 2) would not have satisfied any criteria for targeted testing including one patient with a novel presentation of an SDHAF2 mutation.
CONCLUSION: This study supports the value of universal genetic screening for all patients with PC/PGL.
Welander J, Andreasson A, Juhlin CC, et al.Rare germline mutations identified by targeted next-generation sequencing of susceptibility genes in pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014; 99(7):E1352-60 [PubMed
] Related Publications
CONTEXT: Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas have a highly diverse genetic background, with a third of the cases carrying a germline mutation in 1 of 14 identified genes.
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to evaluate next-generation sequencing for more efficient genetic testing of pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma and to establish germline and somatic mutation frequencies for all known susceptibility genes.
DESIGN: A targeted next-generation sequencing approach on an Illumina MiSeq instrument was used for a mutation analysis in 86 unselected pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma tumor samples. The study included the genes EGLN1, EPAS1, KIF1Bβ, MAX, MEN1, NF1, RET, SDHA, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD, SDHAF2, TMEM127, and VHL. RESULTS were verified in tumor and constitutional DNA with Sanger sequencing.
RESULTS: In all cases with clinical syndromes or known germline mutations, a mutation was detected in the expected gene. Among 68 nonfamilial tumors, 32 mutations were identified in 28 of the samples (41%), including germline mutations in EGLN1, KIF1Bβ, SDHA, SDHB, and TMEM127 and somatic mutations in EPAS1, KIF1Bβ, MAX, NF1, RET, and VHL, including one double monoallelic EPAS1 mutation.
CONCLUSIONS: Targeted next-generation sequencing proved to be fast and cost effective for the genetic analysis of pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma. More than half of the tumors harbored mutations in the investigated genes. Notably, 7% of the apparently sporadic cases carried germline mutations, highlighting the importance of comprehensive genetic testing. KIF1Bβ, which previously has not been investigated in a large cohort, appears to be an equally important tumor suppressor as MAX and TMEM127 and could be considered for genetic testing of these patients.
BACKGROUND: About 60% of Pheochromocytoma (PCC) and Paraganglioma (PGL) patients have either germline or somatic mutations in one of the 12 proposed disease causing genes; SDHA, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD, SDHAF2, VHL, EPAS1, RET, NF1, TMEM127, MAX and H-RAS. Selective screening for germline mutations is routinely performed in clinical management of these diseases. Testing for somatic alterations is not performed on a regular basis because of limitations in interpreting the results.
AIM: The purpose of the study was to investigate genetic events and phenotype correlations in a large cohort of PCC and PGL tumours.
METHODS: A total of 101 tumours from 89 patients with PCC and PGL were re-sequenced for a panel of 10 disease causing genes using automated Sanger sequencing. Selected samples were analysed with Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification and/or SNParray.
RESULTS: Pathogenic genetic variants were found in tumours from 33 individual patients (37%), 14 (16%) were discovered in constitutional DNA and 16 (18%) were confirmed as somatic. Loss of heterozygosity (LOH) was observed in 1/1 SDHB, 11/11 VHL and 3/3 NF1-associated tumours. In patients with somatic mutations there were no recurrences in contrast to carriers of germline mutations (P = 0.022). SDHx/VHL/EPAS1 associated cases had higher norepinephrine output (P = 0.03) and lower epinephrine output (P<0.001) compared to RET/NF1/H-RAS cases.
CONCLUSION: Somatic mutations are frequent events in PCC and PGL tumours. Tumour genotype may be further investigated as prognostic factors in these diseases. Growing evidence suggest that analysis of tumour DNA could have an impact on the management of these patients.
BACKGROUND: Hereditary head and neck paragangliomas (HNPGLs) account for at least 35% of all HNPGLs, most commonly due to germline mutations in SDHx susceptibility genes. Several studies about sympathetic paragangliomas have shown that (18)F-FDG PET/CT was not only able to detect and localize tumours, but also to characterize tumours ((18)F-FDG uptake being linked to SDHx mutations). However, the data concerning (18)F-FDG uptake specifically in HNPGLs have not been addressed. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between (18)F-FDG uptake and the SDHx mutation status in HNPGL patients.
METHODS: (18)F-FDG PET/CT from sixty HNPGL patients were evaluated. For all lesions, we measured the maximum standardized uptake values (SUVmax), and the uptake ratio defined as HNPGL-SUVmax over pulmonary artery trunk SUVmean (SUVratio). Tumour sizes were assessed on radiological studies.
RESULTS: Sixty patients (53.3% with SDHx mutations) were evaluated for a total of 106 HNPGLs. HNPGLs-SUVmax and SUVratio were highly dispersed (1.2-30.5 and 1.0-17.0, respectively). The HNPGL (18)F-FDG uptake was significantly higher in SDHx versus sporadic tumours on both univariate and multivariate analysis (P = 0.002). We developed two models for calculating the probability of a germline SDHx mutation. The first one, based on a per-lesion analysis, had an accuracy of 75.5%. The second model, based on a per-patient analysis, had an accuracy of 80.0%.
CONCLUSIONS: (18)F-FDG uptake in HNPGL is strongly dependent on patient genotype. Thus, the degree of (18)F-FDG uptake in these tumours can be used clinically to help identify patients in whom SDHx mutations should be suspected.
Kugelberg J, Welander J, Schiavi F, et al.Role of SDHAF2 and SDHD in von Hippel-Lindau associated pheochromocytomas.
World J Surg. 2014; 38(3):724-32 [PubMed
] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Pheochromocytomas (PCCs) develop from the adrenal medulla and are often part of a hereditary syndrome such as von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) syndrome. In VHL, only about 30 % of patients with a VHL missense mutation develop PCCs. Thus, additional genetic events leading to formation of such tumors in patients with VHL syndrome are sought. SDHAF2 (previously termed SDH5) and SDHD are both located on chromosome 11q and are required for the function of mitochondrial complex II. While SDHAF2 has been shown to be mutated in patients with paragangliomas (PGLs), SDHD mutations have been found both in patients with PCCs and in patients with PGLs.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Because loss of 11q is a common event in VHL-associated PCCs, we aimed to investigate whether SDHAF2 and SDHD are targets. In the present study, 41 VHL-associated PCCs were screened for mutations and loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in SDHAF2 or SDHD. Promoter methylation, as well as mRNA expression of SDHAF2 and SDHD, was studied. In addition, immunohistochemistry (IHC) of SDHB, known to be a universal marker for loss of any part the SDH complex, was conducted.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: LOH was found in more than 50 % of the VHL-associated PCCs, and was correlated with a significant decrease (p < 0.05) in both SDHAF2 and SDHD mRNA expression, which may be suggestive of a pathogenic role. However, while SDHB protein expression as determined by IHC in a small cohort of tumors was lower in PCCs than in the surrounding adrenal cortex, there was no obvious correlation with LOH or the level of SDHAF2/SDHD mRNA expression. In addition, the lack of mutations and promoter methylation in the investigated samples indicates that other events on chromosome 11 might be involved in the development of PCCs in association with VHL syndrome.
Bausch B, Wellner U, Bausch D, et al.Long-term prognosis of patients with pediatric pheochromocytoma.
Endocr Relat Cancer. 2014; 21(1):17-25 [PubMed
] Related Publications
A third of patients with paraganglial tumors, pheochromocytoma, and paraganglioma, carry germline mutations in one of the susceptibility genes, RET, VHL, NF1, SDHAF2, SDHA, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD, TMEM127, and MAX. Despite increasing importance, data for long-term prognosis are scarce in pediatric presentations. The European-American-Pheochromocytoma-Paraganglioma-Registry, with a total of 2001 patients with confirmed paraganglial tumors, was the platform for this study. Molecular genetic and phenotypic classification and assessment of gene-specific long-term outcome with second and/or malignant paraganglial tumors and life expectancy were performed in patients diagnosed at <18 years. Of 177 eligible registrants, 80% had mutations, 49% VHL, 15% SDHB, 10% SDHD, 4% NF1, and one patient each in RET, SDHA, and SDHC. A second primary paraganglial tumor developed in 38% with increasing frequency over time, reaching 50% at 30 years after initial diagnosis. Their prevalence was associated with hereditary disease (P=0.001), particularly in VHL and SDHD mutation carriers (VHL vs others, P=0.001 and SDHD vs others, P=0.042). A total of 16 (9%) patients with hereditary disease had malignant tumors, ten at initial diagnosis and another six during follow-up. The highest prevalence was associated with SDHB (SDHB vs others, P<0.001). Eight patients died (5%), all of whom had germline mutations. Mean life expectancy was 62 years with hereditary disease. Hereditary disease and the underlying germline mutation define the long-term prognosis of pediatric patients in terms of prevalence and time of second primaries, malignant transformation, and survival. Based on these data, gene-adjusted, specific surveillance guidelines can help effective preventive medicine.
Pheochromocytoma (PCC) and abdominal paraganglioma (PGL) are neuroendocrine tumors that present with clinical symptoms related to increased catecholamine levels. About a third of the cases are associated with constitutional mutations in pre-disposing genes, of which some may also be somatically mutated in sporadic cases. However, little is known about inactivating epigenetic events through promoter methylation in these very genes. Using bisulphite pyrosequencing we assessed the methylation density of 11 PCC/PGL disease genes in 96 tumors (83 PCCs and 13 PGLs) and 34 normal adrenal references. Gene expression levels were determined by quantitative RT-PCR. Both tumors and normal adrenal samples exhibited low methylation index (MetI) in the EGLN1 (PDH2), MAX, MEN1, NF1, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD, SDHAF2 (SDH5), and TMEM127 promoters, not exceeding 10% in any of the samples investigated. Aberrant RET promoter methylation was observed in two cases only. For the VHL gene we found increased MetI in tumors as compared with normal adrenals (57% vs. 27%; P<0.001), in malignant vs. benign tumors (63% vs. 55%; P<0.05), and in PGL vs. PCC (66% vs. 55%; P<0.0005). Decreased expression of the VHL gene was observed in all tumors compared with normal adrenals (P<0.001). VHL MetI and gene expressions were inversely correlated (R = -0.359, P<0.0001). Our results show that the VHL gene promoter has increased methylation compared with normal adrenals (MetI>50%) in approximately 75% of PCCs and PGLs investigated, highlighting the role of VHL in the development of these tumors.
Papathomas TG, de Krijger RR, Tischler ASParagangliomas: update on differential diagnostic considerations, composite tumors, and recent genetic developments.
Semin Diagn Pathol. 2013; 30(3):207-23 [PubMed
] Related Publications
Recent developments in molecular genetics have expanded the spectrum of disorders associated with pheochromocytomas (PCCs) and extra-adrenal paragangliomas (PGLs) and have increased the roles of pathologists in helping to guide patient care. At least 30% of these tumors are now known to be hereditary, and germline mutations of at least 10 genes are known to cause the tumors to develop. Genotype-phenotype correlations have been identified, including differences in tumor distribution, catecholamine production, and risk of metastasis, and types of tumors not previously associated with PCC/PGL are now considered in the spectrum of hereditary disease. Important new findings are that mutations of succinate dehydrogenase genes SDHA, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD, and SDHAF2 (collectively "SDHx") are responsible for a large percentage of hereditary PCC/PGL and that SDHB mutations are strongly correlated with extra-adrenal tumor location, metastasis, and poor prognosis. Further, gastrointestinal stromal tumors and renal tumors are now associated with SDHx mutations. A PCC or PGL caused by any of the hereditary susceptibility genes can present as a solitary, apparently sporadic, tumor, and substantial numbers of patients presenting with apparently sporadic tumors harbor occult germline mutations of susceptibility genes. Current roles of pathologists are differential diagnosis of primary tumors and metastases, identification of clues to occult hereditary disease, and triaging of patients for optimal genetic testing by immunohistochemical staining of tumor tissue for the loss of SDHB and SDHA protein. Diagnostic pitfalls are posed by morphological variants of PCC/PGL, unusual anatomic sites of occurrence, and coexisting neuroendocrine tumors of other types in some hereditary syndromes. These pitfalls can be avoided by judicious use of appropriate immunohistochemical stains. Aside from loss of staining for SDHB, criteria for predicting risk of metastasis are still controversial, and "malignancy" is diagnosed only after metastases have occurred. All PCCs/PGLs are considered to pose some risk of metastasis, and long-term follow-up is advised.
McInerney-Leo AM, Marshall MS, Gardiner B, et al.Whole exome sequencing is an efficient and sensitive method for detection of germline mutations in patients with phaeochromcytomas and paragangliomas.
Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2014; 80(1):25-33 [PubMed
] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Genetic testing is recommended when the probability of a disease-associated germline mutation exceeds 10%. Germline mutations are found in approximately 25% of individuals with phaeochromcytoma (PCC) or paraganglioma (PGL); however, genetic heterogeneity for PCC/PGL means many genes may require sequencing. A phenotype-directed iterative approach may limit costs but may also delay diagnosis, and will not detect mutations in genes not previously associated with PCC/PGL.
OBJECTIVE: To assess whether whole exome sequencing (WES) was efficient and sensitive for mutation detection in PCC/PGL.
METHODS: Whole exome sequencing was performed on blinded samples from eleven individuals with PCC/PGL and known mutations. Illumina TruSeq (Illumina Inc, San Diego, CA, USA) was used for exome capture of seven samples, and NimbleGen SeqCap EZ v3.0 (Roche NimbleGen Inc, Basel, Switzerland) for five samples (one sample was repeated). Massive parallel sequencing was performed on multiplexed samples. Sequencing data were called using Genome Analysis Toolkit and annotated using annovar. Data were assessed for coding variants in RET, NF1, VHL, SDHD, SDHB, SDHC, SDHA, SDHAF2, KIF1B, TMEM127, EGLN1 and MAX. Target capture of five exome capture platforms was compared.
RESULTS: Six of seven mutations were detected using Illumina TruSeq exome capture. All five mutations were detected using NimbleGen SeqCap EZ v3.0 platform, including the mutation missed using Illumina TruSeq capture. Target capture for exons in known PCC/PGL genes differs substantially between platforms. Exome sequencing was inexpensive (<$A800 per sample for reagents) and rapid (results <5 weeks from sample reception).
CONCLUSION: Whole exome sequencing is sensitive, rapid and efficient for detection of PCC/PGL germline mutations. However, capture platform selection is critical to maximize sensitivity.
Castelblanco E, Santacana M, Valls J, et al.Usefulness of negative and weak-diffuse pattern of SDHB immunostaining in assessment of SDH mutations in paragangliomas and pheochromocytomas.
Endocr Pathol. 2013; 24(4):199-205 [PubMed
] Related Publications
This is a confirmatory study about usefulness of SDHB and SDHA immunostaining in assessment of SDH mutations in paragangliomas and pheochromocytomas. Paraganglioma/pheochromocytoma syndrome (PGL/PCC syndrome) consists of different entities, associated with germline mutations in five different genes: SDHD, SDHAF2, SDHC, SDHA and SDHB. It has been suggested that negative immunostaining of SDHB can be taken as an indicator of the presence of a mutation in one of the five SDH genes. We have performed SDHB and SDHA immunohistochemical staining in a series of paragangliomas and pheochromocytomas from 64 patients. The patients had been previously checked for mutations in SDHD, SDHC and SDHB, but also for mutation in RET and VHL. All 14 patients with SDH mutations (9 with SDHB and 5 with SDHD mutations) exhibited negative or weak-diffuse SDHB staining pattern in tumour tissue, whereas cells of the 23 RET mutated and 8 VHL mutated tumours showed a positive SDHB immunostaining. Sixteen of the patients that did not exhibit a mutation in any gene showed positive SDHB immunostaining in tumour tissue, while only three of the patients without mutation exhibited negative staining. All patients exhibited positive pattern of SDHA immunostaining. The results confirm the value of SDHB immunohistochemical status in assessment of germline mutations in PGL/PCC syndrome.
Boedeker CC, Hensen EF, Neumann HP, et al.Genetics of hereditary head and neck paragangliomas.
Head Neck. 2014; 36(6):907-16 [PubMed
] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to give an overview on hereditary syndromes associated with head and neck paragangliomas (HNPGs).
METHODS: Our methods were the review and discussion of the pertinent literature.
RESULTS: About one third of all patients with HNPGs are carriers of germline mutations. Hereditary HNPGs have been described in association with mutations of 10 different genes. Mutations of the genes succinate dehydrogenase subunit D (SDHD), succinate dehydrogenase complex assembly factor 2 gene (SDHAF2), succinate dehydrogenase subunit C (SDHC), and succinate dehydrogenase subunit B (SDHB) are the cause of paraganglioma syndromes (PGLs) 1, 2, 3, and 4. Succinate dehydrogenase subunit A (SDHA), von Hippel-Lindau (VHL), and transmembrane protein 127 (TMEM127) gene mutations also harbor the risk for HNPG development. HNPGs in patients with rearranged during transfection (RET), neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), and MYC-associated factor X (MAX) gene mutations have been described very infrequently.
CONCLUSION: All patients with HNPGs should be offered a molecular genetic screening. This screening may usually be restricted to mutations of the genes SDHD, SDHB, and SDHC. Certain clinical parameters can help to set up the order in which those genes should be tested.
Crona J, Maharjan R, Delgado Verdugo A, et al.MAX mutations status in Swedish patients with pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma tumours.
Fam Cancer. 2014; 13(1):121-5 [PubMed
] Related Publications
Pheochromocytoma (PCC) and Paraganglioma are rare tumours originating from neuroendocrine cells. Up to 60% of cases have either germline or somatic mutation in one of eleven described susceptibility loci, SDHA, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD, SDHAF2, VHL, EPAS1, RET, NF1, TMEM127 and MYC associated factor-X (MAX). Recently, germline mutations in MAX were found to confer susceptibility to PCC and paraganglioma (PGL). A subsequent multicentre study found about 1% of PCCs and PGLs to have germline or somatic mutations in MAX. However, there has been no study investigating the frequency of MAX mutations in a Scandinavian cohort. We analysed tumour specimens from 63 patients with PCC and PGL treated at Uppsala University hospital, Sweden, for re-sequencing of MAX using automated Sanger sequencing. Our results show that 0% (0/63) of tumours had mutations in MAX. Allele frequencies of known single nucleotide polymorphisms rs4902359, rs45440292, rs1957948 and rs1957949 corresponded to those available in the Single Nucleotide Polymorphism Database. We conclude that MAX mutations remain unusual events and targeted genetic screening should be considered after more common genetic events have been excluded.
Rattenberry E, Vialard L, Yeung A, et al.A comprehensive next generation sequencing-based genetic testing strategy to improve diagnosis of inherited pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013; 98(7):E1248-56 [PubMed
] Related Publications
CONTEXT: Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas are notable for a high frequency of inherited cases, many of which present as apparently sporadic tumors.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to establish a comprehensive next generation sequencing (NGS)-based strategy for the diagnosis of patients with pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma by testing simultaneously for mutations in MAX, RET, SDHA, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD, SDHAF2, TMEM127, and VHL.
DESIGN: After the methodology for the assay was designed and established, it was validated on DNA samples with known genotype and then patients were studied prospectively.
SETTING: The study was performed in a diagnostic genetics laboratory.
PATIENTS: DNA samples from 205 individuals affected with adrenal or extraadrenal pheochromocytoma/head and neck paraganglioma (PPGL/HNPGL) were analyzed. A proof-of-principle study was performed using 85 samples known to contain a variant in 1 or more of the genes to be tested, followed by prospective analysis of an additional 120 samples.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: We assessed the ability to use an NGS-based method to perform comprehensive analysis of genes implicated in inherited PPGL/HNPGL.
RESULTS: The proof-of-principle study showed that the NGS assay and analysis gave a sensitivity of 98.7%. A pathogenic mutation was identified in 16.6% of the prospective analysis cohort of 120 patients.
CONCLUSIONS: A comprehensive NGS-based strategy for the analysis of genes associated with predisposition to PPGL and HNPGL was established, validated, and introduced into diagnostic service. The new assay provides simultaneous analysis of 9 genes and allows more rapid and cost-effective mutation detection than the previously used conventional Sanger sequencing-based methodology.
Pęczkowska M, Kowalska A, Sygut J, et al.Testing new susceptibility genes in the cohort of apparently sporadic phaeochromocytoma/paraganglioma patients with clinical characteristics of hereditary syndromes.
Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2013; 79(6):817-23 [PubMed
] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Phaeochromocytoma (PCC) and paraganglioma (PGL) can occur sporadically or as a part of familial cancer syndromes. Red flags of hereditary syndromes are young age and multifocal tumours. We hypothesized that such patients are candidates for further molecular diagnosis in case of normal results in 'classical' genes.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We selected patients with PCC/PGL under the age of 40 and/or with multiple tumours. First, we tested the genes RET, VHL, NF1, SDHB, SDHC and SDHD. Patients without mutations in these genes were tested for mutations in MAX, TMEM127 and SDHAF2.
RESULTS: In 153 patients included, mutations were detected in the classical genes in 72 patients (47%) [RET-22 (14%), VHL-13 (9%), NF1-3 (2%), SDHB-13 (9%), SDHC-3 (2%), SDHD-16 (11%), SDHB large deletions- 2 (1%)]. One patient with MAXc.223C>T (p.R75X) mutation was detected. It was a male with bilateral, metachronous phaeochromocytomas diagnosed in 36 and 40 years of age. Remarkably, he showed in the period before the MAX gene was detected, a RET p. Y791F variant. During 10-year follow-up, we did not find any thyroid abnormalities. LOH examination of tumour tissue showed somatic loss of the wild-type allele of MAX.
CONCLUSION: Analysis of the MAX gene should be performed in selected patients, especially those with bilateral adrenal phaeochromocytoma in whom mutations of the classical genes are absent. Our study provides with further support that Y791F RET is a polymorphism.
Lee BH, Kim JH, Kim JM, et al.The early molecular processes underlying the neurological manifestations of an animal model of Wilson's disease.
Metallomics. 2013; 5(5):532-40 [PubMed
] Related Publications
The Long-Evans Cinnamon (LEC) rat shows age-dependent hepatic manifestations that are similar to those of Wilson's disease (WD). The pathogenic process in the brain has, however, not been evaluated in detail due to the rarity of the neurological symptoms. However, copper accumulation is noted in LEC rat brain tissue from 24 weeks of age, which results in oxidative injuries. The current study investigated the gene expression profiles of LEC rat brains at 24 weeks of age in order to identify the important early molecular changes that underlie the development of neurological symptoms in WD. Biological ontology-based analysis revealed diverse altered expressions of the genes related to copper accumulation. Of particular interest, we found altered expression of genes connected to mitochondrial respiration (Sdhaf2 and Ndufb7), calcineurin-mediated cellular processes (Ppp3ca, Ppp3cb, and Camk2a), amyloid precursor protein (Anks1b and A2m) and alpha-synuclein (Snca). In addition to copper-related changes, compensatory upregulations of Cp and Hamp reflect iron-mediated neurotoxicity. Of note, reciprocal expression of Asmt and Bhmt is an important clue that altered S-adenosylhomocysteine metabolism underlies brain injury in WD, which is directly correlated to the decreased expression of S-adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase in hepatic tissue in LEC rats. In conclusion, our study indicates that diverse molecular changes, both variable and complex, underlie the development of neurological manifestations in WD. Copper-related injuries were found to be the principal pathogenic process, but Fe- or adenosylhomocysteine-related injuries were also implicated. Investigations using other animal models or accessible human samples will be required to confirm our observations.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To summarize the recent advances in the genetics of pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma (PHEO/PGL), focusing on the new susceptibility genes and dividing PHEOs/PGLs into two groups based on their transcription profile.
RECENT FINDINGS: Recently, TMEM127, MYC-associated factor X, and hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) 2α have been described in the pathogenesis of PHEOs/PGLs. Thus, now about 30-40% of these tumors are linked to the germline mutations, which also include mutations in the VHL, RET, NF1, SDHx, and SDHAF2 genes. Furthermore, PHEOs/PGLs have been divided into two groups, cluster 1 (SDHx/VHL) and cluster 2 (RET/NF1), based on the transcription profile revealed by genome-wide expression microarray analysis.
SUMMARY: PHEOs/PGLs are the most inherited tumors among (neuro)endocrine tumors. Future approaches in genetics, including whole-genome sequencing, will allow the discovery of additional PHEO/PGL susceptibility genes. The current division of PHEOs/PGLs into cluster 1 and 2 provides us with additional knowledge related to the pathogenesis of these tumors, including the introduction of new treatment options for patients with metastatic PHEOs/PGLs. New discoveries related to the role of the HIF-1/HIF-2α genes in the pathogenesis of almost all inherited PHEOs/PGLs may call for a new regrouping of these tumors and discoveries of new treatment targets.
Boguszewski CL, Fighera TM, Bornschein A, et al.Genetic studies in a coexistence of acromegaly, pheochromocytoma, gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) and thyroid follicular adenoma.
Arq Bras Endocrinol Metabol. 2012; 56(8):507-12 [PubMed
] Related Publications
We report on an adult woman with rare coexistence of acromegaly, pheochromocytoma (PHEO), gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), intestinal polyposis, and thyroid follicular adenoma. At the age of 56, she was diagnosed with acromegaly caused by a pituitary macroadenoma, treated by transsphenoidal surgery, radiotherapy, and octreotide. During routine colonoscopy, multiple polyps were identified as tubular adenomas with high-grade dysplasia on histology. Years later, an abdominal mass of 8.0 x 6.2 cm was detected by routine ultrasound. Surgical exploration revealed an adrenal mass and another tumor adhered to the lesser gastric curvature, which were removed. Pathology confirmed the diagnosis of PHEO and GIST. PHEO immunohistochemistry was negative for GHRH. During follow-up, nodular goiter was found with normal levels of calcitonin and inconclusive cytology. Near-total thyroidectomy was performed, revealing a follicular adenoma. Her family history was negative for all of these tumor types. Genetic analysis for PHEO/paraganglioma genes (SDH A-D, SDHAF2, RET, VHL, TMEM127, and MAX), and pituitary-related genes (AIP, MEN1, and p27) were negative. Though the finding of PHEO and acromegaly with multiple other tumors could be a fortuitous coexistence, we suggest that this case may represent a new variant of MEN syndrome with a de novo germline mutation in a not yet identified gene.
Baysal BEMitochondrial complex II and genomic imprinting in inheritance of paraganglioma tumors.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013; 1827(5):573-7 [PubMed
] Related Publications
Germ line heterozygous mutations in the structural subunit genes of mitochondrial complex II (succinate dehydrogenase; SDH) and the regulatory gene SDHAF2 predispose to paraganglioma tumors which show constitutive activation of hypoxia inducible pathways. Mutations in SDHD and SDHAF2 cause highly penetrant multifocal tumor development after a paternal transmission, whereas maternal transmission rarely, if ever, leads to tumor development. This transmission pattern is consistent with genomic imprinting. Recent molecular evidence supports a model for tissue-specific imprinted regulation of the SDHD gene by a long range epigenetic mechanism. In addition, there is evidence of SDHB mRNA editing in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and long-term balancing selection operating on the SDHA gene. Regulation of SDH subunit expression by diverse epigenetic mechanisms implicates a crucial dosage-dependent role for SDH in oxygen homeostasis. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Respiratory complex II: Role in cellular physiology and disease.
Panizza E, Ercolino T, Mori L, et al.Yeast model for evaluating the pathogenic significance of SDHB, SDHC and SDHD mutations in PHEO-PGL syndrome.
Hum Mol Genet. 2013; 22(4):804-15 [PubMed
] Related Publications
SDH genes, encoding succinate dehydrogenase, act as tumour suppressor genes, linking mitochondrial dysfunction with tumourigenesis. Heterozygous germline mutations in SDHA, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD and in the assembly factor encoding gene SDHAF2 have all been shown to predispose to heritable endocrine neoplasias such as pheochromocytomas (PHEO) and paragangliomas (PGLs) called 'PHEO-PGL syndrome'. SDH genes mutations, in addition to deletions or truncations which are most likely pathogenic, often include missense substitutions which can be of uncertain significance. Unclassified missense substitutions may be difficult to interpret unless the cause-effect link between mutation and the disease is established by functional and in silico studies or by the familial segregation with the phenotype. Using the yeast model, here, we report functional investigations on several missense SDH mutations found in patients affected by pheochromocytomas or paragangliomas. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether and to which extent the yeast model may be useful for establishing the pathological significance of missense SDH mutations in humans. The results of our study demonstrate that the yeast is a good functional model to validate the pathogenic significance of SDHB missense mutations while, for missense mutations in SDHC and SDHD genes, the model can be informative only when the variation involves a conserved residue in a conserved domain.
Genetically defined mitochondrial deficiencies that result in the loss of complex II function lead to a range of clinical conditions. An array of tumor syndromes caused by complex II-associated gene mutations, in both succinate dehydrogenase and associated accessory factor genes (SDHA, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD, SDHAF1, SDHAF2), have been identified over the last 12 years and include hereditary paraganglioma-pheochromocytomas, a diverse group of renal cell carcinomas, and a specific subtype of gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST). In addition, congenital complex II deficiencies due to inherited homozygous mutations of the catalytic components of complex II (SDHA and SDHB) and the SDHAF1 assembly factor lead to childhood disease including Leigh syndrome, cardiomyopathy and infantile leukodystrophies. The role of complex II subunit gene mutations in tumorigenesis has been the subject of intensive research and these data have led to a variety of compelling hypotheses. Among the most widely researched are the stabilization of hypoxia inducible factor 1 under normoxia, and the generation of reactive oxygen species due to defective succinate:ubiquinone oxidoreductase function. Further progress in understanding the role of complex II in disease, and in the development of new therapeutic approaches, is now being hampered by the lack of relevant cell and animal models. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Respiratory complex II: Role in cellular physiology and disease.