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Oncogene. 2016 Jun 2;35(22):2923-31. doi: 10.1038/onc.2015.346. Epub 2015 Sep 21.

Hedgehog/Patched-associated rhabdomyosarcoma formation from delta1-expressing mesodermal cells.

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Department of Human Genetics, University Medical Center Goettingen, Goettingen, Germany.
Department of Cardiac Development and Remodelling, Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim, Germany.


Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common pediatric soft tissue sarcoma. In children, the 2 major RMS subtypes are alveolar and embryonal RMS. Aberrant Hedgehog/Patched1 (Hh/Ptch) signaling is a hallmark of embryonal RMS. We demonstrate that mice carrying a Ptch mutation in mesodermal Delta1-expressing cells develop embryonal-like RMS at a similar rate as mice harboring a Ptch mutation in the germline or the brachury-expressing mesoderm. The tumor incidence decreases dramatically when Ptch is mutated in Myf5- or Pax3-expressing cells. No RMS develop from Myogenin/Mef2c-expressing cells. This suggests that Hh/Ptch-associated RMS are derived from Delta1-positive, Myf5-negative, Myogenin-negative and Pax3-negative mesodermal progenitors that can undergo myogenic differentiation but lack stable lineage commitment. Additional preliminary genetic data and data on mesodermal progenitors further imply an interplay of Hh/Ptch and Delta/Notch signaling activity during RMS initiation. In contrast, Wnt signals supposedly suppress RMS formation because RMS multiplicity decreases after inactivation of the Wnt-inhibitor Wif1. Finally, our results strongly suggest that the tumor-initiating event determines the lineage of RMS origin.

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