Somatic deletions and mutations in the Cowden disease gene, PTEN, in sporadic thyroid tumors

Patricia L.M. Dahia, Debbie J. Marsh, Zimu Zheng, Jan Zedenius, Paul Komminoth, Tony Frisk, Goran Wallin, Ramon Parsons, Michel Longy, Catharina Larsson, Charis Eng

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278 Scopus citations


The majority of familial medullary thyroid neoplasms are associated with germ-line mutations of the RET proto-oncogene, yet very little is known about the mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of familial and sporadic nonmedullary thyroid tumors. A subset of thyroid tumors have loss of heterozygosity of chromosome 10q22-23, a region harboring the gene responsible for Cowden disease, an autosomal dominant hamartoma syndrome associated with thyroid and breast tumors. PTEN/MMAC1/TEP1 codes for a dual- specificity phosphatase and is likely a tumor suppressor gene. We sought to determine the PTEN status in a series of epithelial thyroid neoplasms. We studied 95 sporadic thyroid tumors, of which 39 were papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTCs), 12 were follicular carcinomas, 9 were anaplastic carcinomas, 5 were Hurthle cell carcinomas, 21 were nonfunctioning follicular adenomas, and 9 were Hurthle cell adenomas. Direct sequencing of PCR- amplified products was performed for all nine exons of PTEN. Two polymorphic markers, one located in intron 8 and another, a dinucleotide repeat marker, AFMa086wg9, located within intron 2, were analyzed in paired blood-tumor DNA samples to assess hemizygous deletions of PTEN. We found a somatic frameshift mutation in one PTC, which was expected to generate a premature stop codon 2 amino acids downstream. Twenty-six % of informative benign tumors (four follicular adenomas and three Hurthle cell adenomas) and only 3 of 49 (6.1%) informative malignant tumors (one PTC, one follicular carcinoma, and one anaplastic carcinoma) showed evidence of hemizygous deletion of PTEN (P = 0.046). We conclude that a subset of thyroid tumors have somatic deletions of the PTEN gene, predominantly the benign forms, and that small intragenic mutations of PTEN are infrequent in thyroid tumors. We speculate that other mechanisms of PTEN inactivation, rather than small intragenic mutations, might occur in the hemizygously deleted samples and act as the 'Knudson second hit.' Alternatively, other tumor suppressor genes mapping to chromosome 10q22-23 could be the actual targets for such deletions and thus represent the various hits in the pathway of multistep carcinogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4710-4713
Number of pages4
JournalCancer Research
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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