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Jpn J Cancer Res. 2002 Nov;93(11):1270-7.

Molecular analysis of oncogenes, ras family genes (N-ras, K-ras, H-ras), myc family genes (c-myc, N-myc) and mdm2 in natural killer cell neoplasms.

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Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8421, Japan.


Natural killer (NK) cell neoplasms are rare diseases. Frequent abnormalities of the tumor suppressor genes Rb, p53, p15INK4B, p16INK4A and p14ARF have been reported. However, no oncogenes associated with tumorigenesis of NK cell neoplasms have been reported so far. We analyzed the status of oncogenes including N-ras, K-ras, H-ras, c-myc, N-myc and mdm2 by Southern blot, PCR-SSCP, western blot analysis and immunohistochemical staining. We analyzed four cell lines derived from NK cell neoplasms and 31 clinical samples with five subclasses of NK cell neoplasms. We found no point mutations of the ras family genes. We detected no mutations in the c-myc and N-myc genes. No overexpression of c-Myc protein was detected by western blot analysis. Although we found neither amplification nor rearrangement of the mdm2 gene, we found high expression of MDM2 protein in some cases by western blot analysis. Immunohistochemical staining confirmed the overexpression of MDM2 protein. We found 14 cases with overexpression of MDM2 protein out of 15 cases (93%) with four subclasses of NK cell neoplasms except chronic NK lymphocytosis. Our previous and these results suggested that the expression level of MDM2 protein is independent of the status of the p14ARF, p53, Rb genes. MDM2 protein might independently contribute to carcinogenesis of NK cell neoplasms. Although the number of the cases we analyzed was not large, alterations of ras and myc family genes may rarely contribute to tumorigenesis in NK cell neoplasms. In contrast, overexpression of MDM2 might be associated with tumorigenesis of NK cell neoplasms, especially aggressive subclasses.

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