TERT promoter mutations are frequent in atypical fibroxanthomas and pleomorphic dermal sarcomas

Klaus G Griewank, Bastian Schilling, Rajmohan Murali, Nicola Bielefeld, Marion Schwamborn, Antje Sucker, Lisa Zimmer, Uwe Hillen, Jörg Schaller, Thomas Brenn, Dirk Schadendorf, Thomas Mentzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Activating mutations in the TERT promoter leading to increased telomerase expression were recently identified in cutaneous melanoma and subsequently in many other types of cancer. These mutations lead to increased telomerase expression, allowing cells to proliferate continuously without entering apoptosis or senescence. Atypical fibroxanthomas and pleomorphic dermal sarcomas are genetically poorly understood tumors developing in the skin of older patients. Known genetic events in these tumors are mutations in TP53 (atypical fibroxanthoma and pleomorphic dermal sarcoma) and RAS (pleomorphic dermal sarcoma) genes, often having a UV signature. We analyzed a cohort of 27 atypical fibroxanthomas and 34 pleomorphic dermal sarcomas for the presence of TERT promoter mutations by conventional Sanger sequencing. TERT promoter mutations were identified in 25 (93%) atypical fibroxanthomas and in 26 (76%) pleomorphic dermal sarcomas. Mutations were found to have a UV signature (C>T or CC>TT) and were largely identical to those detected in cutaneous melanoma. Our data show that TERT promoter mutations are the most frequent mutations in atypical fibroxanthomas and pleomorphic dermal sarcomas reported to date. The identified mutations confirm the pathogenetic role of UV exposure in both atypical fibroxanthomas and pleomorphic dermal sarcomas and suggest that telomere maintenance through increased expression of telomerase plays an important role in the pathogenesis of these tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)502-8
Number of pages7
JournalModern Pathology
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014

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