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Yoon JY , Jiang W , Orr CR , Rushton C , Gargano S , Song SJ , Modi M , Hozack B , Abraham J , Mallick AB , Brooks JSJ , Rosenbaum JN , Zhang PJ
TERT gene rearrangement in chordomas and comparison to other TERT-rearranged solid tumors
Cancer Genet. 2021 Sep 20;258-259 :74-79
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Abstract
Chordomas are rare, slow-growing neoplasms thought to arise from the foetal notochord remnant. A limited number of studies that examined the mutational profiles in chordomas identified potential driver mutations, including duplication in the TBXT gene (encoding brachyury), mutations in the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway, and loss of the CDKN2A gene. Most chordomas remain without clear driver mutations, and no fusion genes have been identified thus far. We discovered a novel TERT in-frame fusion involving RPH3AL (exon 5) and TERT (exon 2) in the index chordoma case. We screened a discovery cohort of 18 additional chordoma cases for TERT gene rearrangement by FISH, in which TERT rearrangement was identified in one additional case. In our independent, validation cohort of 36 chordomas, no TERT rearrangement was observed by FISH. Immunohistochemistry optimized for nuclear TERT expression showed at least focal TERT expression in 40/55 (72.7%) chordomas. Selected cases underwent molecular genetic profiling, which showed low tumor mutational burdens (TMBs) without obvious driver oncogenic mutations. We next examined a cohort of 1,913 solid tumor patients for TERT rearrangements, and TERT fusions involving exon 2 were observed in 7/1,913 (0.4%) cases. The seven tumors comprised five glial tumors, and two poorly differentiated carcinomas. In contrast to chordomas, the other TERT-rearranged tumors were notable for higher TMBs, frequent TP53 mutations (6/7) and presence of other driver oncogenic mutations, including a concurrent fusion (TRIM24-MET). In conclusion, TERT gene rearrangements are seen in a small subset (2/55, 3.6%) of chordomas. In contrast to other TERT-rearranged tumors, where the TERT rearrangements are likely passenger events, the possibility that TERT protein overexpression representing a key event in chordoma tumorigenesis is left open.
Notes
Yoon, Ju-Yoon Jiang, Wei Orr, Christopher R Rushton, Chase Gargano, Stacey Song, Sharon J Modi, Mitul Hozack, Bryan Abraham, John Mallick, Atrayee Basu Brooks, John S J Rosenbaum, Jason N Zhang, Paul J Journal Article United States Cancer Genet. 2021 Sep 20;258-259:74-79. doi: 10.1016/j.cancergen.2021.09.002.