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Abstract

Patients with familial adenomatous polyposis coli (FAP) carry heterozygous mutations of the APC gene. At a young age, these patients develop multiple colorectal adenomas that consistently display a second somatic mutation in the remaining APC wild-type allele. Inactivation of APC leads to impaired degradation of β-catenin, thereby promoting continuous cell-cycle progression. The role of APC inactivation in rare extracolonic tumors of FAP patients has not been characterized sufficiently. Among tissue specimen from 174 patients with known APC germ-line mutations, we identified 8 tumors infrequently seen in FAP. To investigate the pathogenic role of APC pathway deregulation in these lesions, they were analyzed for second-hit somatic mutations in the mutational cluster region of the APC gene. Immunohistochemistry was performed to compare the expression pattern of β-catenin to the mutational status of the APC gene. Exon 3 of the β-catenin gene (CTNNB1) was analyzed for activating mutations to investigate alternative mechanisms of elevated β-catenin concentration. Although CTNNB1 mutations were not observed, second somatic APC mutations were found in 4 of the 8 tumors: a uterine adenocarcinoma, a hepatocellular adenoma, an adrenocortical adenoma, and an epidermal cyst. These tumors showed an elevated concentration of β-catenin. No APC mutations were seen in focal nodular hyperplasia of the liver, angiofibrolipoma, and seborrheic wart. This is the first study reporting second somatic APC mutations in FAP-associated uterine adenocarcinoma and epidermal cysts. Furthermore, our data strengthen a role for impaired APC function in the pathogenesis of adrenal and hepatic neoplasms in FAP patients. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.