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Hum Genet. 1996 Jun;97(6):770-6.

Detection of a germline mutation and somatic homozygous loss of the von Hippel-Lindau tumor-suppressor gene in a family with a de novo mutation. A combined genetic study, including cytogenetics, PCR/SSCP, FISH, and CGH.

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Department of Haematology and Oncology, Johannes-Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany.


von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease is a pleiotropic disorder featuring a variety of malignant and benign tumors of the eye, central nervous system, kidney, and adrenal gland. Recently the VHL gene has been identified in the chromosomal region 3p25-26. Prognosis and successful management of VHL patients and their descendants depend on unambiguous diagnosis. Due to recurrent hemangioblastomas, a29-year-old patient without familial history of VHL disease was diagnosed to be at risk for the disease. Histopathological examination of a small renal mass identified a clear cell tumor with a G1 grading. Genetic characterization of the germline and of the renal tumor was performed. Polymerase chain reaction/single strand conformation polymorphism (PCR/SSCP) analysis with primers from the VHL gene identified a deletion of a single nucleotide in exon 2 in the patient's germline and in the tumor, but not in the DNA of his parents. This deletion therefore must be a de novo mutation. Comparative genome hybridization (CGH) and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis of the G1 tumor with differentially labelled yeast artifical chromosome (YAC) clones showed loss of 3p and of the 3p26 signals, respectively. In conclusion, we identified a de novo germline mutation in the VHL gene of a young patient and a somatic chromosome 3p loss at the homologous chromosome 3 in his renal tumor. Our results suggest a recessive mode of inactivation of the VHL gene, providing solid evidence for its tumor-suppressor gene characteristics. Our data show the diagnostic potential of genetic testing, especially in patients without VHL family history. Furthermore, the findings of homozygous inactivation of the VHL gene in a G1 tumor support the notion that the inactivation of the VHL gene is an early event in tumorigenesis of renal cell carcinoma.

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