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Clin Cancer Res. 2008 Feb 15;14(4):1015-24. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-07-1305.

High-resolution DNA copy number profiling of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors using targeted microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization.

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  • 1Institute of Medical Genetics, Cardiff University, School of Medicine, Heath Park, Cardiff, United Kingdom.



Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is an autosomal dominant condition that predisposes to benign and malignant tumors. The lifetime risk of a malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST) in NF1 is approximately 10%. These tumors have a poor survival rate and their molecular basis remains unclear. We report the first comprehensive investigation of DNA copy number across multitude of genes in NF1 tumors using high-resolution array comparative genomic hybridization (CGH), with the aim to identify molecular signatures that delineate malignant from benign NF1 tumors.


We constructed an exon-level resolution microarray encompassing 57 selected genes and profiled DNA from 35 MPNSTs, 16 plexiform, and 8 dermal neurofibromas. Bioinformatic analysis was done on array CGH data to identify concurrent aberrations in malignant tumors.


The array CGH profiles of MPNSTs and neurofibromas were markedly different. A number of MPNST-specific alterations were identified, including amplifications of ITGB4, PDGFRA, MET, TP73, and HGF plus deletions in NF1, HMMR/RHAMM, MMP13, L1CAM2, p16INK4A/CDKN2A, and TP53. Copy number changes of HMMR/RHAMM, MMP13, p16INK4A/CDKN2A, and ITGB4 were observed in 46%, 43%, 39%, and 32%, respectively of the malignant tumors, implicating these genes in MPNST pathogenesis. Concomitant amplifications of HGF, MET, and PDGFRA genes were also revealed in MPNSTs, suggesting the putative role of p70S6K pathway in NF1 tumor progression.


This study highlights the potential of array CGH in identifying novel diagnostic markers for MPNSTs.

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