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Int J Cancer. 1999 Aug 27;82(5):625-9.

beta-catenin mutation and expression analysis in ovarian cancer: exon 3 mutations and nuclear translocation in 16% of endometrioid tumours.

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Joint Experimental Oncology Program, Queensland Institute of Medical Research and University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.


The molecular mechanisms involved in the generation of epithelial ovarian cancers are poorly understood, but evidence suggests that the different histological subtypes may arise from independent tumorigenic events. beta-Catenin is emerging as an important oncogene in the transformation of a number of epithelial cancers, and mutations have been reported in a small study of endometrioid ovarian adenocarcinomas. Mutations in the NH(2)-regulatory domain of beta-catenin stabilise the cytoplasmic levels of this protein, which promotes up-regulation of the beta-catenin-T-cell factor-lymphoid enhancer factor transcriptional complex. We report here beta-catenin (CTNNB1) exon 3 mutation analysis in 149 epithelial ovarian carcinomas. This revealed 10/63 (16%) endometrioid ovarian tumours with activating mutations of the beta-catenin gene. All mutations were missense changes within the GSK3beta consensus site, affecting serine residues at codons 33 and 37 and glycine at codon 34. Immuno-histochemical analysis identified cytoplasmic stabilisation and nuclear translocation in those endometrioid tumours with mutations. This phenotypic change was also identified in 3 other endometrioid tumours that did not have somatic mutations within exon 3 of CTNNB1. Stabilisation of the free, monomeric pool of beta-catenin and the probable resulting constitutive activation of its Tcf-associated transcriptional complex appears to be a specific oncogenic event in endometrioid ovarian adenocarcinoma.

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