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Lung Cancer. 2008 Aug;61(2):163-9. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2007.12.013. Epub 2008 Feb 1.

EML4-ALK fusion transcripts, but no NPM-, TPM3-, CLTC-, ATIC-, or TFG-ALK fusion transcripts, in non-small cell lung carcinomas.

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1st Department of Pathology, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, 1-20-1 Handayama, Higashi Ward, Hamamatsu 431-3192, Japan.


EML4-ALK gene fusions have recently been discovered in a subset of human lung carcinomas, and fusions of the ALK tyrosine kinase gene with the NPM, TPM3, CLTC, ATIC, and TFG genes have been found in hematological malignancies. To elucidate the role of fusions between ALK and other genes in pulmonary carcinogenesis, we examined 77 non-small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLCs) for EML4-, NPM-, TPM3-, CLTC-, ATIC-, and TFG-ALK fusion transcripts by RT-PCR and subsequent sequencing analysis. Although no expression of NPM-, TPM3-, CLTC-, ATIC-, or TFG-ALK fusion transcripts were detected in any of the cases, expression of EML4-ALK fusion transcripts was detected in two (2.6%) of the 77 NSCLCs. In one of the two NSCLCs there was fusion between exon 13 of EML4 and exon 20 of ALK, i.e., variant 1, and in the other there was fusion between exon 20 of EML4 and exon 20 of ALK, i.e., variant 2. Both patients had a history of smoking, and histologically the carcinomas were adenocarcinoma. No somatic mutations were detected in the mutation cluster regions of the EGFR, K-RAS, and PIK3CA genes in these two carcinomas, however, a Pro177Ser mutation of the p53 gene was detected in the carcinoma that contained the variant 1 EML4-ALK fusion transcripts. In situ PCR of a paraffin block section showed that the carcinoma with expression of the variant 1 actually contained an EML4-ALK fusion gene. These results suggested that the EML4-ALK fusion gene product is involved in the carcinogenesis of a subset of NSCLCs.

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