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Br J Cancer. 2008 May 6;98(9):1536-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604341. Epub 2008 Apr 15.

EML4-ALK fusion transcript is not found in gastrointestinal and breast cancers.

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Department of Surgery, Medical Institute of Bioregulation, Kyushu University, 4546 Tsurumihara, Beppu 874-0838, Japan.


Fusion genes have been identified as chromosomal rearrangements in certain cancers, such as leukaemia, lymphoma, and sarcoma. The EML4-ALK (EML4: echinoderm microtubule-associated-protein-like 4; ALK: anaplastic lymphoma kinase) fusion gene has been identified as an oncogene in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This study examined the presence of this fusion transcript in gastrointestinal and breast cancers. We evaluated the expression of the EML4-ALK transcript in 104 lung cancer cases and in 645 gastrointestinal and breast cancer samples. Only one of the lung cancer samples tested positive for the EML4-ALK fusion transcript, whereas none were detected in 555 gastrointestinal and 90 breast cancer cases. Our data suggest that the EML4-ALK fusion transcript is not present in gastrointestinal or breast cancers and is specific to NSCLC.

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