Report

DAXX/ATRX, MEN1, and mTOR Pathway Genes Are Frequently Altered in Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science  20 Jan 2011:
1200609
DOI: 10.1126/science.1200609

Abstract

Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors (PanNETs) are a rare but clinically important form of pancreatic neoplasia. To explore the genetic basis of PanNETs, we determined the exomic sequences of ten nonfamilial PanNETs and then screened the most commonly mutated genes in 58 additional PanNETs. The most frequently mutated genes specify proteins implicated in chromatin remodeling: 44% of the tumors had somatic inactivating mutations in MEN-1, which encodes menin, a component of a histone methyltransferase complex; and 43% had mutations in genes encoding either of the two subunits of a transcription/chromatin remodeling complex consisting of DAXX (death-domain associated protein) and ATRX (alpha thalassemia/mental retardation syndrome X-linked). Clinically, mutations in the MEN1 and DAXX/ATRX genes were associated with better prognosis. We also found mutations in genes in the mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) pathway in 14% of the tumors, a finding that could potentially be used to stratify patients for treatment with mTOR inhibitors.