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Am J Hum Genet. 2000 Feb;66(2):393-401.

Toward a survey of somatic mutation of the NF1 gene in benign neurofibromas of patients with neurofibromatosis type 1.

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  • 1Abteilung Humangenetik, Universit├Ąt Ulm, Albert-Einstein-Allee 11, D-89081 Ulm, Germany.


Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), a common autosomal dominant disorder caused by mutations of the NF1 gene, is characterized by multiple neurofibromas, pigmentation anomalies, and a variety of other possible complications, including an increased risk of malignant neoplasias. Tumorigenesis in NF1 is believed to follow the two-hit hypothesis postulated for tumor-suppressor genes. Loss of heterozygosity (LOH) has been shown to occur in NF1-associated malignancies and in benign neurofibromas, but only few of the latter yielded a positive result. Here we describe a systematic approach of searching for somatic inactivation of the NF1 gene in neurofibromas. In the course of these studies, two new intragenic polymorphisms of the NF1 gene, a tetranucleotide repeat and a 21-bp duplication, could be identified. Three tumor-specific point mutations and two LOH events were detected among seven neurofibromas from four different NF1 patients. Our results suggest that small subtle mutations occur with similar frequency to that of LOH in benign neurofibromas and that somatic inactivation of the NF1 gene is a general event in these tumors. The spectrum of somatic mutations occurring in various tumors from individual NF1 patients may contribute to the understanding of variable expressivity of the NF1 phenotype.

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