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Oncogene. 1997 Dec 4;15(23):2877-81.

Drastic genetic instability of tumors and normal tissues in Turcot syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, The Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, Japan.


Turcot syndrome is characterized by an association of malignant brain tumors and colon cancer developing in the patient's teens. Since the mechanism of carcinogenesis in Turcot syndrome is still unclear, we analysed genetic changes in tumors from a Turcot patient with no family history of the condition. All tumors, including one astrocytoma, three colon carcinomas, and two colon adenomas, exhibited severe replication error (RER), and all colon tumors showed somatic mutations at repeated regions of TGFbetaRII, E2F-4, hMSH3, and/or hMSH6 genes. Somatic APC mutations were detected in three of three colon carcinomas, and somatic p53 mutations were detected in the astrocytoma and two of three colon carcinomas, both of which showed two mutations without allele loss. We also found that normal colon mucosa, normal skin fibroblasts and normal brain tissue from this patient showed respective high frequencies of RER, in contrast to usual HNPCC patients in which RER was very rare in normal tissues. These results suggest that extreme DNA instability in normal tissues causes the early development of multiple cancer in Turcot syndrome. A missense mutation (GAG to AAG) at codon 705 of hPMS2 gene was detected in one allele of this patient, which was inherited from his mother without tumors. Additional unknown germline mutation may contribute to the genetic instability in normal tissues.

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