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Simone L. Scholz, Henning Thomasen, Henning Reis, Inga Möller, Raid Darawsha, Bettina Müller, Dirk Dekowski, Antje Sucker, Bastian Schilling, Dirk Schadendorf, Klaus-Peter Steuhl, Annette Paschen, Henrike Westekemper, Daniel Meller, Klaus G. Griewank; Frequent TERT Promoter Mutations in Ocular Surface Squamous Neoplasia. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(10):5854-5861. doi: 10.1167/iovs.15-17469.
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Ocular surface squamous neoplasia, including intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and invasive squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), are one of the most common malignant tumors of the conjunctiva. Little is known of the genetic alterations involved in their pathogenesis. Promoter mutations in telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) have been identified in various cancers, including many associated with ultraviolet (UV) exposure. Our study analyzes the mutation rate and clinicopathological associations of TERT promoter mutations in ocular surface squamous neoplasia.
DNA was isolated and the region of the TERT promoter where hotspot mutations can occur analyzed by Sanger-sequencing in 48 ocular surface squamous neoplasia tumor samples (6 CIN and 42 SCC). An analysis of associations between TERT promoter mutation status and various clinicopathological parameters was performed.
We identified TERT promoter mutations in 21 of 48 ocular surface squamous neoplasia samples (43.8%), including 4 in CIN and 17 in SCC. The mutations consisted of 8 Chr.5:1295228C>T, 1 Chr.5:1295228_1295229CC>TT, 5 Chr.5:1295242_1295243CC>TT, and 12 Chr.5:1295250C>T mutations. All mutations were C>T or CC>TT alterations, demonstrating a UV-signature. TERT promoter mutations showed no statistically significant associations with clinicopathological parameters.
Telomerase reverse transcriptase promoter mutations are found in almost half of ocular surface squamous neoplasias and have a mutation profile supporting UV induction as the major source of mutagenesis. We conclude that UV induced TERT promoter mutations leading to aberrant overexpression of telomerase is a major pathogenetic factor in ocular surface squamous neoplasia.
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