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Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2002 May;34(1):58-68.

Comprehensive mutational analysis of the VHL gene in sporadic renal cell carcinoma: relationship to clinicopathological parameters.

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Department of Urology, Yokohama City University School of Medicine, Yokohama, Japan.


To delineate more precisely the somatic von Hippel-Lindau disease (VHL) gene alteration as well as to elucidate its etiologic role in renal tumorigenesis, we examined a total of 240 sporadic renal cell carcinomas (RCCs) for somatic VHL gene alterations by DNA-SSCP followed by sequencing, methylation-specific PCR assay, microsatellite LOH study, and Southern blot analysis. Intragenic mutation of the VHL gene was found exclusively in clear-cell or variant-type RCCs at a frequency of 51% (104/202). Hypermethylation of the VHL promoter region was detected in an additional 11 clear-cell RCCs. Microsatellite analysis demonstrated that LOH of the VHL locus was found in 140/155 (90%) informative clear-cell RCCs. The VHL gene therefore seems to be inactivated in a two-hit manner by intragenic mutation or hypermethylation plus allelic loss in clear-cell RCC. Genomic rearrangement of the VHL gene detected by Southern analysis was not found (0/216 cases); this is in contrast to germ lines in which Southern aberrations consisted of 7-19% of the mutations. Clinicopathologic data demonstrated that VHL mutation/LOH did not vary according to tumor progression in clear-cell RCC, including tumor diameter, stage, grading, distant metastasis, and lymph node metastasis. Interestingly, VHL mutation was significantly less frequent in RCCs occurring in younger (< or = 55 years) than that in older (> or = 56 years) patients. These data suggested that the inactivation of the VHL tumor-suppressor gene is a specific genetic change in clear-cell RCC, and that it may occur at an early or first step in the clear-cell tumorigenic pathway rather than as a late event.

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