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Lorenza Pastorino - Top 30 Publications

PTCH1 Germline Mutations and the Basaloid Follicular Hamartoma Values in the Tumor Spectrum of Basal Cell Carcinoma Syndrome (NBCCS).

Nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome (NBCCS) is an autosomal dominantly inherited disorder characterized by multiple basal cell carcinomas (BCC), odontogenic tumors and various skeletal anomalies. Basaloid follicular hamartomas (BFHs) constitute rare neoplasms that can be detected in sporadic and familial settings as in the Basaloid Follicular Hamartoma Syndrome (BFHS). Although BFHS shares clinical, histopathological and genetic overlapping with the NBCCS, they are still considered two distinctive entities. The aim of our single-institution study was the analysis of a cohort of PTCH1-mutated patients in order to define clinical and biomolecular relationship between NBCCS and BFHs.

Functional analysis of a CDKN2A 5'UTR germline variant associated with pancreatic cancer development.

CDKN2A coding region germline variants are associated with pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PC) susceptibility. Recently, we described functional germline 5'UTR CDKN2A variants from melanoma patients affecting the post-transcriptional regulation of p16INK4a mRNA that is dependent, at least in part, on an Internal Ribosome Entry Site (IRES) in the 5'UTR region. Here we describe a 5'UTR c.-201_-198delinsCTTT CDKN2A variant (frequency 0.0028 based on 350 PC patients), which seems to be private to PC, since it has never been found in public databases nor in thousands of melanoma patients tested. Functional analyses confirmed IRES activity of the 5'UTR in BX-PC3 PC cells and revealed a functional impact of the identified variant. Using gene reporter assays we observed reduced translation potential in cells treated with the mTOR inhibitor Torin1, a condition that favors the assessment of IRES activity. At the endogenous gene level we quantified allelic imbalance among polysome-associated mRNAs using a patient-derived cell line heterozygous for the c.-201_-198delinsCTTT. Overall, we conclude that this very rare private variant can be considered a potential mutation, specifically associated with PC. Our data indicate that sequencing of the entire 5'UTR of CDKN2A should be included in routine screening of PC cases with suspected inherited susceptibility.

Heterogeneity and frequency of BRAF mutations in primary melanoma: Comparison between molecular methods and immunohistochemistry.

Finding the best technique to identify BRAF mutations with a high sensitivity and specificity is mandatory for accurate patient selection for target therapy. BRAF mutation frequency ranges from 40 to 60% depending on melanoma clinical characteristics and detection technique used.Intertumoral heterogeneity could lead to misinterpretation of BRAF mutational status; this is especially important if testing is performed on primary specimens, when metastatic lesions are unavailable.Aim of this study was to identify the best combination of methods for detecting BRAF mutations (among peptide nucleic acid - PNA-clamping real-time PCR, immunohistochemistry and capillary sequencing) and investigate BRAF mutation heterogeneity in a series of 100 primary melanomas and a subset of 25 matched metastatic samples.Overall, we obtained a BRAF mutation frequency of 62%, based on the combination of at least two techniques. Concordance between mutation status in primary and metastatic tumor was good but not complete (67%), when agreement of at least two techniques were considered. Next generation sequencing was used to quantify the threshold of detected mutant alleles in discordant samples. Combining different methods excludes that the observed heterogeneity is technique-based. We propose an algorithm for BRAF mutation testing based on agreement between immunohistochemistry and PNA; a third molecular method could be added in case of discordance of the results. Testing the primary tumor when the metastatic sample is unavailable is a good option if at least two methods of detection are used, however the presence of intertumoral heterogeneity or the occurrence of additional primaries should be carefully considered.

A novel PTCH1 gene mutation in a pediatric patient associated multiple keratocystic odontogenic tumors of the jaws and Gorlin-Goltz syndrome.

Gorlin-Goltz syndrome (GGS) is an uncommon autosomal dominant inherited disorder which comprises the triad of basal cell carcinomas (BCCs), odontogenic keratocysts, and musculoskeletal malformations. Besides this triad, neurological, ophthalmic, endocrine, and genital manifestations are known to be variable. It is occasionally associated with aggressive BCC and internal malignancies. This report documents a case of GGS with a novel mutation in the PTCH1 gene in an 11-year-old child. The clinical, radiographic, histopathologic and molecular findings of this condition, and treatment are described, and a review of GGS was carried out.

Multiple rare variants in high-risk pancreatic cancer-related genes may increase risk for pancreatic cancer in a subset of patients with and without germline CDKN2A mutations.

The risk of pancreatic cancer (PC) is increased in melanoma-prone families but the causal relationship between germline CDKN2A mutations and PC risk is uncertain, suggesting the existence of non-CDKN2A factors. One genetic possibility involves patients having mutations in multiple high-risk PC-related genes; however, no systematic examination has yet been conducted. We used next-generation sequencing data to examine 24 putative PC-related genes in 43 PC patients with and 23 PC patients without germline CDKN2A mutations and 1001 controls. For each gene and the four pathways in which they occurred, we tested whether PC patients (overall or CDKN2A+ and CDKN2A- cases separately) had an increased number of rare nonsynonymous variants. Overall, we identified 35 missense variants in PC patients, 14 in CDKN2A+ and 21 in CDKN2A- PC cases. We found nominally significant associations for mismatch repair genes (MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, PMS2) in all PC patients and for ATM, CPA1, and PMS2 in CDKN2A- PC patients. Further, nine CDKN2A+ and four CDKN2A- PC patients had rare potentially deleterious variants in multiple PC-related genes. Loss-of-function variants were only observed in CDKN2A- PC patients, with ATM having the most pathogenic variants. Also, ATM variants (n = 5) were only observed in CDKN2A- PC patients with a family history that included digestive system tumors. Our results suggest that a subset of PC patients may have increased risk because of germline mutations in multiple PC-related genes.

Multiple primary melanomas (MPMs) and criteria for genetic assessment: MultiMEL, a multicenter study of the Italian Melanoma Intergroup.

Multiple primary melanoma (MPM), in concert with a positive family history, is a predictor of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor 2A (CDKN2A) germline mutations. A rule regarding the presence of either 2 or 3 or more cancer events (melanoma and pancreatic cancer) in low or high melanoma incidence populations, respectively, has been established to select patients for genetic referral.

Corrigendum: A SUMOylation-defective MITF germline mutation predisposes to melanoma and renal carcinoma.

The CDKN2A/p16(INK) (4a) 5'UTR sequence and translational regulation: impact of novel variants predisposing to melanoma.

Many variants of uncertain functional significance in cancer susceptibility genes lie in regulatory regions, and clarifying their association with disease risk poses significant challenges. We studied 17 germline variants (nine of which were novel) in the CDKN2A 5'UTR with independent approaches, which included mono and bicistronic reporter assays, Western blot of endogenous protein, and allelic representation after polysomal profiling to investigate their impact on CDKN2A mRNA translation regulation. Two of the novel variants (c.-27del23, c.-93-91delAGG) were classified as causal mutations (score ≥3), along with the c.-21C>T, c.-34G>T, and c.-56G>T, which had already been studied by a subset of assays. The novel c.-42T>A as well as the previously described c.-67G>C were classified as potential mutations (score 1 or 2). The remaining variants (c.-14C>T, c.-20A>G, c.-25C>T+c.-180G>A, c.-30G>A, c.-40C>T, c.-45G>A, c.-59C>G, c.-87T>A, c.-252A>T) were classified as neutral (score 0). In conclusion, we found evidence that nearly half of the variants found in this region had a negative impact on CDKN2A mRNA translation, supporting the hypothesis that 5'UTR can act as a cellular Internal Ribosome Entry Site (IRES) to modulate p16(INK) (4a) translation.

A combination of immunohistochemistry and molecular approaches improves highly sensitive detection of BRAF mutations in papillary thyroid cancer.

The optimal method for BRAF mutation detection remains to be determined despite advances in molecular detection techniques. The aim of this study was to compare, against classical Sanger sequencing, the diagnostic performance of two of the most recently developed, highly sensitive methods: BRAF V600E immunohistochemistry (IHC) and peptide nucleic-acid (PNA)-clamp qPCR. BRAF exon 15 mutations were searched in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues from 86 papillary thyroid carcinoma using the three methods. The limits of detection of Sanger sequencing in borderline or discordant cases were quantified by next generation sequencing. BRAF mutations were found in 74.4 % of cases by PNA, in 71 % of cases by IHC, and in 64 % of cases by Sanger sequencing. Complete concordance for the three methods was observed in 80 % of samples. Better concordance was observed with the combination of two methods, particularly PNA and IHC (59/64) (92 %), while the combination of PNA and Sanger was concordant in 55 cases (86 %). Sensitivity of the three methods was 99 % for PNA, 94.2 % for IHC, and 89.5 % for Sanger. Our data show that IHC could be used as a cost-effective, first-line method for BRAF V600E detection in daily practice, followed by PNA analysis in negative or uninterpretable cases, as the most efficient method. PNA-clamp quantitative PCR is highly sensitive and complementary to IHC as it also recognizes other mutations besides V600E and it is suitable for diagnostic purposes.

BRAF-mutant melanoma: treatment approaches, resistance mechanisms, and diagnostic strategies.

BRAF inhibitors vemurafenib and dabrafenib achieved improved overall survival over chemotherapy and have been approved for the treatment of BRAF-mutated metastatic melanoma. More recently, the combination of BRAF inhibitor dabrafenib with MEK inhibitor trametinib has shown improved progression-free survival, compared to dabrafenib monotherapy, in a Phase II study and has received approval by the US Food and Drug Administration. However, even when treated with the combination, most patients develop mechanisms of acquired resistance, and some of them do not achieve tumor regression at all, because of intrinsic resistance to therapy. Along with the development of BRAF inhibitors, immunotherapy made an important step forward: ipilimumab, an anti-CTLA-4 monoclonal antibody, was approved for the treatment of metastatic melanoma; anti-PD-1 agents achieved promising results in Phase I/II trials, and data from Phase III studies will be ready soon. The availability of such drugs, which are effective regardless of BRAF status, has made the therapeutic approach more complex, as first-line treatment with BRAF inhibitors may not be the best choice for all BRAF-mutated patients. The aim of this paper is to review the systemic therapeutic options available today for patients affected by BRAF V600-mutated metastatic melanoma, as well as to summarize the mechanisms of resistance to BRAF inhibitors and discuss the possible strategies to overcome them. Moreover, since the molecular analysis of tumor specimens is now a pivotal and decisional factor in the treatment strategy of metastatic melanoma patients, the advances in the molecular detection techniques for the BRAF V600 mutation will be reported.

Skeletal and cranio-facial signs in Gorlin syndrome from ancient Egypt to the modern age: sphenoid asymmetry in a patient with a novel PTCH1 mutation.

Gorlin syndrome is an autosomal dominant disorder linked to PTCH1 mutation, identified by a collection of clinical and radiologic signs. We describe the case of a family in which father and son fulfilled clear cut diagnostic criteria for Gorlin syndrome including multiple basal cell carcinomas, keratocystic odontogenic tumors, atypical skeletal anomalies and a novel PTCH1 germline mutation (c.1041delAA). Craniofacial and other skeletal anomalies displayed at 3D and helical CT scan were: macrocephaly, positional plagiocephaly, skull base and sphenoid asymmetry, bifidity of multiple ribs and giant multilocular odontogenic jaw cysts. Extensive multilamellar calcifications were found in falx cerebri, tentorium, falx cerebelli and in the atlanto-occipital ligament. The inclusion of bifid ribs as a novel major criteri may be useful for the recognition and characterization of misdiagnosed cases.

Rare missense variants in POT1 predispose to familial cutaneous malignant melanoma.

Although CDKN2A is the most frequent high-risk melanoma susceptibility gene, the underlying genetic factors for most melanoma-prone families remain unknown. Using whole-exome sequencing, we identified a rare variant that arose as a founder mutation in the telomere shelterin gene POT1 (chromosome 7, g.124493086C>T; p.Ser270Asn) in five unrelated melanoma-prone families from Romagna, Italy. Carriers of this variant had increased telomere lengths and numbers of fragile telomeres, suggesting that this variant perturbs telomere maintenance. Two additional rare POT1 variants were identified in all cases sequenced in two separate Italian families, one variant per family, yielding a frequency for POT1 variants comparable to that for CDKN2A mutations in this population. These variants were not found in public databases or in 2,038 genotyped Italian controls. We also identified two rare recurrent POT1 variants in US and French familial melanoma cases. Our findings suggest that POT1 is a major susceptibility gene for familial melanoma in several populations.

CDKN2A unclassified variants in familial malignant melanoma: combining functional and computational approaches for their assessment.

CDKN2A codes for two oncosuppressors by alternative splicing of two first exons: p16INK4a and p14ARF. Germline mutations are found in about 40% of melanoma-prone families, and most of them are missense mutations mainly affecting p16INK4a. A growing number of p16INK4a variants of uncertain significance (VUS) are being identified but, unless their pathogenic role can be demonstrated, they cannot be used for identification of carriers at risk. Predicting the effect of these VUS by either a "standard" in silico approach, or functional tests alone, is rather difficult. Here, we report a protocol for the assessment of any p16INK4a VUS, which combines experimental and computational tools in an integrated approach. We analyzed p16INK4a VUS from melanoma patients as well as variants derived through permutation of conserved p16INK4a amino acids. Variants were expressed in a p16INK4a-null cell line (U2-OS) and tested for their ability to block proliferation. In parallel, these VUS underwent in silico prediction analysis and molecular dynamics simulations. Evaluation of in silico and functional data disclosed a high agreement for 15/16 missense mutations, suggesting that this approach could represent a pilot study for the definition of a protocol applicable to VUS in general, involved in other diseases, as well.

Brooke-Spiegler syndrome tumor spectrum beyond the skin: a patient carrying germline R936X CYLD mutation and a somatic CYLD mutation in Brenner tumor.

Brooke-Spiegler syndrome is a hereditary disorder characterized by a predisposition to the development of skin appendage neoplasms and the major and minor salivary glands neoplasms. The role of the CYLD mutation in visceral neoplasms is still unclear, except for the parathyroid tumor. We report the case of a 46-year-old patient with multiple cylindromas and trichoepitheliomas, a Brenner tumor of the ovary and a negative family history for Brooke-Spiegler phenotype. Genetic analysis revealed R936X germline mutation in the proband, but not in the patient's relatives. The same somatic mutation was found in the Brenner tumor, together with a novel missense CYLD mutation (D889N), which has never been reported in the literature. A founder effect for R936X has been hypothesized due to its high prevalence; surprisingly, in our case, this mutation seems to be recognized as a de novo mutation. Future studies involving a greater number of cases, through the clinical analysis of the familial tumor spectrum and the associated molecular pathways, are necessary to understand possible genotype/phenotype correlations and the underlying molecular mechanisms.

Proteomic analysis of PTCH1+/- fibroblast lysate and conditioned culture media isolated from the skin of healthy subjects and nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome patients.

The pathogenesis underlying the increased predisposition to the development of basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) in the context of Gorlin-Goltz syndrome is linked to molecular mechanisms that differ from sporadic BCCs. Patients with Gorlin syndrome tend to develop multiple BCCs at an early age and present with tumors of non-sun-exposed skin. The aim of this study was to compare the proteomic profile of cultured fibroblast and fibroblast conditioned culture media of PTCH1+ and nonmutated fibroblasts.

Melanoma prone families with CDK4 germline mutation: phenotypic profile and associations with MC1R variants.

CDKN2A and CDK4 are high risk susceptibility genes for cutaneous malignant melanoma. Melanoma families with CDKN2A germline mutations have been extensively characterised, whereas CDK4 families are rare and lack a systematic investigation of their phenotype.

Clinical utility gene card for: Gorlin syndrome--update 2013.

Diagnostic and pathogenetic role of café-au-lait macules in nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome.

Café au lait spots (CALS) are common dermatologic findings that can at the same time arise in a variety of pathologic conditions such as Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), together with numerous hereditary syndromes for which they represent either diagnostic criteria or associated elements (McCune Albright, Silver-Russell, LEOPARD, Ataxia-Telangiectasia). A review of the literature also revealed two cases of association with NBCCS. We report here the case of a female proband with CALS associated to Nevoid Basal Cell Carcinoma Syndrome (NBCCS) with known PTCH1 germline mutation (C.1348-2A>G) who had been misdiagnosed with NF1 in her childhood because of 5 CALS and cutaneous nodules. The patient presented a giant cell tumor of the skin, palmar and calcaneal epidermoidal cystic nodules, odontogenic keratocystic tumors and deformity of the jaw profile. Her family history brought both her brother and father to our attention because of the presence of KCOTs diagnosed at early age: after genetic testing, the same PTCH1 germline mutation was identified in the three family members. Clinical criteria are used for discerning NF1 diagnosis (size, number and onset age), while there are no definite guidelines concerning CALS except for their presence. In our experience, we have noted an association of CALS with NBCCS; this seems interesting because we already know clinical criteria are a dynamic entity and can be modified by epidemiologic evidences.

Novel PTCH1 mutations in patients with keratocystic odontogenic tumors screened for nevoid basal cell carcinoma (NBCC) syndrome.

Keratocystic odontogenic tumors (KCOTs) are cystic tumors that arise sporadically or associated with nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome (NBCCS). NBCCS is a rare autosomal dominantly inherited disease mainly characterized by multiple basal cell carcinomas, KCOTs of the jaws and a variety of other tumors. PTCH1 mutation can be found both in sporadic or NBCCS associated KCOTs. The aim of the current study was to assess whether a combined clinical and bio-molecular approach could be suitable for the detection of NBCCS among patients with a diagnosis of keratocystic odontogenic tumors (KCOTs). The authors collected keratocystic odontogenic tumors recorded in the database of the Pathology Department of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia during the period 1991-2011. Through interviews and examinations, family pedigrees were drawn for all patients affected by these odontogenic lesions. We found out that 18 of the 70 patients with KCOTs and/or multiple basal cell carcinomas actually met the clinical criteria for the diagnosis of NBCCS. A wide inter- and intra-familial phenotypic variability was evident in the families. Ameloblastomas (AMLs) were reported in two probands that are also carriers of the PCTH1 germline mutations. Nine germline mutations in the PTCH1 gene, 5 of them novel, were evident in 14 tested probands. The clinical evaluation of the keratocystic odontogenic tumors can be used as screening for the detection of families at risk of NBCCS. Keratocystic odontogenic lesions are uncommon, and their discovery deserves the search for associated cutaneous basal cell carcinomas and other benign and malignant tumors related to NBCCS.

Patched homolog 1 gene mutation (p.G1093R) induces nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome and non-syndromic keratocystic odontogenic tumors: A case report.

Mutations in the Patched homolog 1 (PTCH1) gene lead to an autosomal dominant disorder known as nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome (NBCCS) or Gorlin syndrome (GS). Several PTCH1 mutations have been observed in NBCCS associated with keratocystic odontogenic tumors (KCOTs), including non-syndromic KCOTs. The missense mutation c.3277G>C (p.G1093R) in exon 19 of the PTCH1 gene has only been reported in non-syndromic KCOTs. The present study reports for the first time a familial case (father and daughter) of NBCCS and KCOTs, carrying the same c.3277G>C (p.G1093R) germline mutation. This observation suggests that this missense mutation is involved in the pathogenesis of NBCCS as well as in a subset of non-syndromic KCOTs. The identification of a missense mutation may lead to an earlier diagnosis of NBCCS.

MC1R variation and melanoma risk in relation to host/clinical and environmental factors in CDKN2A positive and negative melanoma patients.

Host, environmental and genetic factors differently modulate cutaneous melanoma (CM) risk across populations. Currently, the main genetic risk determinants are germline mutations in the major known high-risk susceptibility genes, CDKN2A and CDK4, and variants of the low-risk gene MC1R, which is key in the pigmentation process. This case-control study aimed at investigating the influence of the main host and environmental risk factors and of MC1R variation on CM risk in 390 CDKN2A-negative and 49 CDKN2A-positive Italian individuals. Multivariate analysis showed that MC1R variation, number of nevi and childhood sunburns doubled CM risk in CDKN2A-negative individuals. In CDKN2A-positive individuals, family history of CM and presence of atypical nevi, rather than MC1R status, modified risk (20.75- and 2.83-fold, respectively). Occupational sun exposure increased CM risk (three to sixfold) in both CDKN2A-negative and CDKN2A-positive individuals, reflecting the occupational habits of the Ligurian population and the geographical position of Liguria.

Ameloblastoma: a neglected criterion for nevoid basal cell carcinoma (Gorlin) syndrome.

Ameloblastomas are considered to be aggressive and locally invasive neoplasms derived from odontogenic epithelium with a tendency for recurrence and bone destruction. Although the relationship between nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome (NBCCS) and ameloblastoma is less frequent, it might constitute a peculiar stigmata of this hereditary disorder. The objective of the current study was to evaluate whether a combined clinical and biomolecular approach could be useful for the identification of NBCCS among patients with a diagnosis of ameloblastoma. The authors collected ameloblastoma tumors recorded in the databases of the Pathology Departments of the University of Modena during the period 1991-2011. Family trees were drawn for all 41 patients affected by these specific odontogenic tumors. Two patients with ameloblastoma were also affected by multiple basal cell carcinomas and odontogenic keratocysts tumors (OKCTs) achieving the requested clinical criteria for the diagnosis of NBCCS. The clinical diagnoses were confirmed by the identification of two different novel PTCH1 germline mutations (c.2186A > T [p.K729 M]; c.931insA) in those unrelated patients. Clinical ameloblastoma findings can be used as screening for the identification of families at risk of NBCCS. Ameloblastomas diagnosis warrants the search for associated cutaneous basal cell carcinomas and other benign and malignant tumors related to NBCCS. Thus, we propose the inclusion of ameloblasoma as criterion for the identification of NBCCS.

Unicystic ameloblastoma associated with the novel K729M PTCH1 mutation in a patient with nevoid basal cell carcinoma (Gorlin) syndrome.

Nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome (NBCCS) is an autosomal dominant disorder characterized by a very wide spectrum of clinical signs and symptoms. Here, we report an unusual case of NBCCS in a 38-year-old man with an early onset of clinical signs and symptoms and an associated unicystic ameloblastoma, histopathologically showing basaloid differentiation and intraluminal growth. The odontogenic tumor was surgically enucleated and recurred at the follow-up at 14 months. The proband and his child were identified as gene carriers of the novel K729M PTCH1 missense mutation; other first- and second-degree relatives presented clinical features of NBCCS. Only five other cases of association between ameloblastoma and NBCCS have been reported so far, suggesting that PTCH1 missense mutation might take part in the pathogenesis of keratocystic odontogenic tumors (KCOTs) as well as ameloblastomas.

CDKN2A is the main susceptibility gene in Italian pancreatic cancer families.

Background Most familial pancreatic cancer (FPC) remains unexplained. The identification of individuals with a high genetic risk of developing pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PC) is important to elucidate its biological basis and is critical to better define emerging strategies for the detection of early pancreatic neoplasms. Patients and methods A series of 225 consecutively enrolled patients with PC were tested for CDKN2A mutations. After personal and family cancer histories of all the patients had been reviewed, a subset of the patients were classified as FPC and were also tested for mutations in PALLD, PALB2, BRCA1 and BRCA2 as FPC candidate genes. Results The CDKN2A mutation rate in the 225 PC cases was 5.7%. The CDKN2A founder mutations, p.E27X and p.G101W, were predominant, but the mutation spectrum also included p.L65P, p.G67R and two novel, potentially pathogenic variants, promoter variant c.-201ACTC>CTTT and p.R144C. None of the patients with FPC harboured germline mutations in PALLD, PALB2 or BRCA2. One family was positive for the BRCA1 UV variant p.P727L. Strikingly, five of 16 patients with FPC (31%) carried CDKN2A mutations. Conclusion These findings suggest that a sizeable subset of Italian FPC families may carry CDKN2A mutations. This result may be of value for identifying the best candidates for future PC screening trials in Italy.

Brooke-Spiegler syndrome: report of two cases not associated with a mutation in the CYLD and PTCH tumor-suppressor genes.

Brooke-Spiegler syndrome represents an autosomal dominant disease characterized by the occurrence of multiple cylindromas, trichoepitheliomas and (sporadically) spiroadenomas. Patients with Brooke-Spiegler syndrome are also at risk of developing tumors of the major and minor salivary glands. Patients with Brooke-Spiegler syndrome have various mutations in the CYLD gene, a tumor-suppressor gene located on chromosome 16q. To date, 68 unique CYLD mutations have been identified. We describe two families with Brooke-Spiegler syndrome, one with familial cylindromatosis and one with multiple familial trichoepithelioma, which showed wide inter-family phenotypic variability. Analysis of germline mutations of the CYLD and PTCH genes was performed using peripheral blood. In addition, formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor samples were analyzed for PTCH somatic mutations and cylindroma cell cultures were obtained directly from patients for further growth and analysis. Clinically, the major features of Brooke-Spiegler syndrome include the presence of heterogeneous skin tumors and wide inter- and intra-familial phenotypic variability. Histopathologically, both cylindromas and trichoepitheliomas were found in affected individuals. Mutations or loss of heterozygosity was not found in CYLD and PTCH genes. In CYLD and PTCH mutation-negative patients, other genes may be affected and further studies are needed to clarify whether these patients may be affected by de novo germline mutations.

A SUMOylation-defective MITF germline mutation predisposes to melanoma and renal carcinoma.

So far, no common environmental and/or phenotypic factor has been associated with melanoma and renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The known risk factors for melanoma include sun exposure, pigmentation and nevus phenotypes; risk factors associated with RCC include smoking, obesity and hypertension. A recent study of coexisting melanoma and RCC in the same patients supports a genetic predisposition underlying the association between these two cancers. The microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) has been proposed to act as a melanoma oncogene; it also stimulates the transcription of hypoxia inducible factor (HIF1A), the pathway of which is targeted by kidney cancer susceptibility genes. We therefore proposed that MITF might have a role in conferring a genetic predisposition to co-occurring melanoma and RCC. Here we identify a germline missense substitution in MITF (Mi-E318K) that occurred at a significantly higher frequency in genetically enriched patients affected with melanoma, RCC or both cancers, when compared with controls. Overall, Mi-E318K carriers had a higher than fivefold increased risk of developing melanoma, RCC or both cancers. Codon 318 is located in a small-ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) consensus site (ΨKXE) and Mi-E318K severely impaired SUMOylation of MITF. Mi-E318K enhanced MITF protein binding to the HIF1A promoter and increased its transcriptional activity compared to wild-type MITF. Further, we observed a global increase in Mi-E318K-occupied loci. In an RCC cell line, gene expression profiling identified a Mi-E318K signature related to cell growth, proliferation and inflammation. Lastly, the mutant protein enhanced melanocytic and renal cell clonogenicity, migration and invasion, consistent with a gain-of-function role in tumorigenesis. Our data provide insights into the link between SUMOylation, transcription and cancer.

Genome-wide association study identifies three new melanoma susceptibility loci.

We report a genome-wide association study for melanoma that was conducted by the GenoMEL Consortium. Our discovery phase included 2,981 individuals with melanoma and 1,982 study-specific control individuals of European ancestry, as well as an additional 6,426 control subjects from French or British populations, all of whom were genotyped for 317,000 or 610,000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Our analysis replicated previously known melanoma susceptibility loci. Seven new regions with at least one SNP with P < 10(-5) and further local imputed or genotyped support were selected for replication using two other genome-wide studies (from Australia and Texas, USA). Additional replication came from case-control series from the UK and The Netherlands. Variants at three of the seven loci replicated at P < 10(-3): an SNP in ATM (rs1801516, overall P = 3.4 × 10(-9)), an SNP in MX2 (rs45430, P = 2.9 × 10(-9)) and an SNP adjacent to CASP8 (rs13016963, P = 8.6 × 10(-10)). A fourth locus near CCND1 remains of potential interest, showing suggestive but inconclusive evidence of replication (rs1485993, overall P = 4.6 × 10(-7) under a fixed-effects model and P = 1.2 × 10(-3) under a random-effects model). These newly associated variants showed no association with nevus or pigmentation phenotypes in a large British case-control series.

Clinical utility gene card for: Gorlin syndrome.

Functional analysis of CDKN2A/p16INK4a 5'-UTR variants predisposing to melanoma.

Germline CDKN2A mutations are observed in 20-50% of melanoma-prone families. We identified melanoma patients that were heterozygous for non-coding germline variants in the 5'-UTR of CDKN2A (c.-21C > T; c.-25C > T&c.-180G > A; c.-56G > T; c.-67G > C) and examined their impact on the p16(INK4a) 5'-UTR activity using two luciferase-based reporter vectors that differ in basal transcription level and that were transfected into the melanoma-derived WM266-4 and in the breast cancer-derived MCF7 cells. The wild-type 5'-UTR sequence, containing a reported SNP (c.-33G > C) and a known melanoma-predisposing mutation (c.-34G > T), was included as controls. Results revealed that the variants at -21 and -34 severely reduced the reporter activity. The variants at -56 and at -25&-180 exhibited a milder impact, while results with c.-67G > C were dependent on the plasmid type. Quantification of the luciferase mRNA indicated that the effects of the variants were mainly post-transcriptional. Using a bicistronic dual-luciferase reporter plasmid, we confirmed that c.-21C > T and c.-34G > T had a severe negative impact in both cell lines. We also applied a polysomal profiling technique to samples heterozygous for the 5'-UTR variants, including patient-derived lymphoblasts. Analysis of allelic imbalance indicated that in addition to the c.-21C > T variant, the c.-56T > G and c.-67G > C variants also reduced mRNA translation efficiency. Overall, our results suggest that the c.-21C > T sequence variant is a melanoma-predisposing mutation. The c.-25C > T&c.-180G > A and particularly the c.-56G > T variants showed a range of intermediate functional defects in the different assays, and were not observed in the control population. We propose that these variants should be considered as potential mutations.

Clinical genetic testing for familial melanoma in Italy: a cooperative study.

The Italian Society of Human Genetics' (SIGU) recommendations on genetic counseling and testing for hereditary melanoma state that clinical genetic testing can be offered to Italian melanoma families with at least two affected members.