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Clin Cancer Res. 2000 Aug;6(8):2999-3005.

Racial disparity in the frequency of PTEN mutations, but not microsatellite instability, in advanced endometrial cancers.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology/Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


Survival of African Americans with endometrial cancer is significantly worse than that of whites. Mutation of the PTEN tumor suppressor gene and microsatellite instability occur in some endometrial cancers, and they are associated with favorable prognostic features. The aim of this study was to determine whether there is a racial disparity in the frequency of these molecular alterations that contributes to differences in outcome in advanced endometrial cancer. We screened 140 stage III/IV endometrial adenocarcinomas (78 Caucasian, 62 African American) for mutations in the PTEN gene. Paired DNA samples were available in 100 cases and were analyzed for microsatellite instability using three polymorphic markers. African-American women had cancers with significantly higher stage and grade that were more often nonendometrioid. In addition, median survival of African Americans (1.0 years) was worse than that of whites (2.5 years; P = 0.02). PTEN mutation was seen in 20 of 140 (14%) cancers and was associated with endometrioid histology and more favorable survival. The frequency of PTEN mutations was significantly higher in whites (17 of 78; 22%) than in African Americans (3 of 62; 5%; P = 0.006). Microsatellite instability was found in 15% of cancers, exclusively in endometrioid cases, and was associated with favorable survival (P = 0.01). There was no racial difference in the frequency of microsatellite instability. We conclude that mutation of the PTEN tumor suppressor gene is associated with favorable survival in advanced endometrial cancer and is 4-fold more frequent in Caucasians relative to African Americans. This suggests that differences in the frequency of PTEN mutations contribute to the racial disparity in endometrial cancer survival.

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