The 4q12 Amplicon in Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors: Consequences on Gene Expression and Implications for Sunitinib Treatment.

Zietsch, J., Ziegenhagen, N., Heppner, F.L., Reuss, D., von Deimling, A., Holtkamp, N.
Journal   PLoS One
Species  
Analytes Measured   Flt-1 VEGFR1
Matrix Tested   Cell lysates
Year   2010
Volume   5
Page Numbers  
Application   Cytokines and Chemokines
Abstract
Background Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST) are highly aggressive tumors which originate from Schwann cells and develop in about 10% of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) patients. The five year survival rate is poor and more effective therapies are needed. Sunitinib is a drug targeting receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK) like PDGFRα, c-Kit and VEGFR-2. These genes are structurally related and cluster on chromosomal segment 4q12. Methodology/Principal Findings Here we characterize this region by multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) in MPNST. Our probe set encompasses the 3 adjacent RTK genes (PDGFRA, KIT, KDR) and 6 flanking genes. We found amplification of several genes within this region in a subset of MPNST and MPNST cell lines. Transcript and protein expression of PDGFRA matched well with its increased copy number suggesting a central role of PDGFRA within the amplicon. Studying the effect of sunitinib on 5 MPNST cell lines revealed that cell line S462 harboring the 4q12 amplicon was extremely sensitive to the drug with an IC50 below 1.0µM. Moreover, sunitinib induced apoptosis and prevented PDGF-AA induced signaling via PDGFRα as determined by western blotting. Co-expression of VEGF and its receptor VEGFR-2 (KDR) was present in MPNST cell lines suggesting an autocrine loop. We show that VEGF triggered signal transduction via the MAPK pathway, which could be blocked by sunitinib. Conclusions/Significance Since multiple receptors targeted by sunitinib are expressed or over-expressed by MPNST cells sunitinib appears as an attractive drug for treatment of MPNST patients. Presence of the 4q12 amplicon and subsequent over-expression of PDGFRA might serve as predictive markers for efficacy of sunitinib.

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