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Free access

Vaishali I Parekh, Sita D Modali, James Welch, William F Simonds, Lee S Weinstein, Electron Kebebew, and Sunita K Agarwal

Free access

Yulong Li, Jianhua Zhang, Poorni R Adikaram, James Welch, Bin Guan, Lee S Weinstein, Haobin Chen, and William F Simonds

Mutation of the CDC73 gene, which encodes parafibromin, has been linked with parathyroid cancer. However, no correlation between genotypes of germline CDC73 mutations and the risk of parathyroid cancer has been known. In this study, subjects with germline CDC73 mutations were identified from the participants of two clinical protocols at National Institutes of Health (Discovery Cohort) and from the literature (Validation Cohort). The relative risk of developing parathyroid cancer was analyzed as a function of CDC73 genotype, and the impact of representative mutations on structure of parafibromin was compared between genotype groups. A total of 419 subjects, 68 in Discovery Cohort and 351 in Validation Cohort, were included. In both cohorts, percentages of CDC73 germline mutations that predicted significant conformational disruption or loss of expression of parafibromin (referred as ‘high-impact mutations’) were significantly higher among the subjects with parathyroid cancers compared to all other subjects. The Kaplan–Meier analysis showed that high-impact mutations were associated with a 6.6-fold higher risk of parathyroid carcinoma compared to low-impact mutations, despite a similar risk of developing primary hyperparathyroidism between two groups. Disruption of the C-terminal domain (CTD) of parafibromin is directly involved in predisposition to parathyroid carcinoma, since only the mutations impacting this domain were associated with an increased risk of parathyroid carcinoma. Structural analysis revealed that a conserved surface structure in the CTD is universally disrupted by the mutations affecting this domain. In conclusion, high-impact germline CDC73 mutations were found to increase risk of parathyroid carcinoma by disrupting the CTD of parafibromin.

Open access

Adel Mandl, James M Welch, Gayathri Kapoor, Vaishali I Parekh, David S Schrump, R Taylor Ripley, Mary F Walter, Jaydira Del Rivero, Smita Jha, William F Simonds, Robert T Jensen, Lee S Weinstein, Jenny E Blau, and Sunita K Agarwal

Patients with the multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) syndrome carry germline heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in the MEN1 gene which predisposes them to develop various endocrine and non-endocrine tumors. Over 90% of the tumors show loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at chromosome 11q13, the MEN1 locus, due to somatic loss of the wild-type MEN1 allele. Thymic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) or thymic carcinoids are uncommon in MEN1 patients but are a major cause of mortality. LOH at the MEN1 locus has not been demonstrated in thymic tumors. The goal of this study was to investigate the molecular aspects of MEN1-associated thymic tumors including LOH at the MEN1 locus and RNA-sequencing (RNA-Seq) to identify genes associated with tumor development and potential targeted therapy. A retrospective chart review of 294 patients with MEN1 germline mutations identified 14 patients (4.8%) with thymic tumors (12 thymic NETs and 2 thymomas). LOH at the MEN1 locus was identified in 10 tumors including the 2 thymomas, demonstrating that somatic LOH at the MEN1 locus is also the mechanism for thymic tumor development. Unsupervised principal component analysis and hierarchical clustering of RNA-Seq data showed that thymic NETs formed a homogenous transcriptomic group separate from thymoma and normal thymus. KSR2 (kinase suppressor of Ras 2), that promotes Ras-mediated signaling, was abundantly expressed in thymic NETs, a potential therapeutic target. The molecular insights gained from our study about thymic tumors combined with similar data from other MEN1-associated tumors may lead to better surveillance and treatment of these rare tumors.