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Nature communications

ATRX, DAXX or MEN1 mutant pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors are a distinct alpha-cell signature subgroup.


PMID 30315258

Abstract

The commonly mutated genes in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PanNETs) are ATRX, DAXX, and MEN1. We genotyped 64 PanNETs and found 58% carry ATRX, DAXX, and MEN1 mutations (A-D-M mutant PanNETs) and this correlates with a worse clinical outcome than tumors carrying the wild-type alleles of all three genes (A-D-M WT PanNETs). We performed RNA sequencing and DNA-methylation analysis to reveal two distinct subgroups with one consisting entirely of A-D-M mutant PanNETs. Two genes differentiating A-D-M mutant from A-D-M WT PanNETs were high ARX and low PDX1 gene expression with PDX1 promoter hyper-methylation in the A-D-M mutant PanNETs. Moreover, A-D-M mutant PanNETs had a gene expression signature related to that of alpha-cells (FDR q-value < 0.009) of pancreatic islets including increased expression of HNF1A and its transcriptional target genes. This gene expression profile suggests that A-D-M mutant PanNETs originate from or transdifferentiate into a distinct cell type similar to alpha cells.