Germline mutations and variants in the succinate dehydrogenase genes in Cowden and Cowden-like syndromes by Ni Ying, Zbuk Kevin M, Sadler Tammy, Patocs Attila, Lobo Glenn, Edelman Emily, Platzer Petra, Orloff Mohammed S, Waite Kristin A, Eng Charis in American journal of human genetics (2008).

[PMID: 18678321] PubMed


Individuals with PTEN mutations have Cowden syndrome (CS), associated with breast, thyroid, and endometrial neoplasias. Many more patients with features of CS, not meeting diagnostic criteria (termed CS-like), are evaluated by clinicians for CS-related cancer risk. Germline mutations in succinate dehydrogenase subunits SDHB-D cause pheochromocytoma-paraganglioma syndrome. One to five percent of SDHB/SDHD mutation carriers have renal cell or papillary thyroid carcinomas, which are also CS-related features. SDHB-D may be candidate susceptibility genes for some PTEN mutation-negative individuals with CS-like cancers. To address this hypothesis, germline SDHB-D mutation analysis in 375 PTEN mutation-negative CS/CS-like individuals was performed, followed by functional analysis of identified SDH mutations/variants. Of 375 PTEN mutation-negative CS/CS-like individuals, 74 (20%) had increased manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) expression, a manifestation of mitochondrial dysfunction. Among these, 10 (13.5%) had germline mutations/variants in SDHB (n = 3) or SDHD (7), not found in 700 controls (p < 0.001). Compared to PTEN mutation-positive CS/CS-like individuals, those with SDH mutations/variants were enriched for carcinomas of the female breast (6/9 SDH versus 30/107 PTEN, p < 0.001), thyroid (5/10 versus 15/106, p < 0.001), and kidney (2/10 versus 4/230, p = 0.026). In the absence of PTEN alteration, CS/CS-like-related SDH mutations/variants show increased phosphorylation of AKT and/or MAPK, downstream manifestations of PTEN dysfunction. Germline SDH mutations/variants occur in a subset of PTEN mutation-negative CS/CS-like individuals and are associated with increased frequencies of breast, thyroid, and renal cancers beyond those conferred by germline PTEN mutations. SDH testing should be considered for germline PTEN mutation-negative CS/CS-like individuals, especially in the setting of breast, thyroid, and/or renal cancers.

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