Wilms tumor genetics: Mutations in WT1, WTX, and CTNNB1 account for only about one-third of tumors



Wilms tumor is genetically heterogeneous, and until recently only one Wilms tumor gene was known, WT1 at 11p13. However, WT1 is altered in only ∼20% of Wilms tumors. Recently a novel gene, WTX at Xq11.1, was reported to be mutated in Wilms tumors. No overlap between tumors with mutations in WTX and WT1 was noted, suggesting that WT1 and WTX mutations could account for the genetic basis of roughly half of Wilms tumors. To assess the frequency of WTX mutations and their relationship to WT1 mutations in a larger (n = 125) panel of Wilms tumors which had been thoroughly assessed for mutations in WT1, we conducted a complete mutational analysis of WTX that included sequencing of the entire coding region and quantitative PCR to identify deletions of the WTX gene. Twenty-three (18.4%) tumors carried a total of 24 WTX mutations, a lower WTX mutation frequency than that previously observed. Surprisingly, we observed an equivalent frequency of WTX mutations in tumors with mutations in either or both WT1 and CTNNB1 (20.0%) and tumors with no mutation in either WT1 or CTNNB1 (17.5%). WTX has been reported to play a role in the WNT/β-catenin signaling pathway, and, interestingly, WTX deletion/truncation mutations appeared to be rare in tumors carrying exon 3 mutations of CTNNB1, encoding β-catenin. Our findings indicate that WT1 and WTX mutations occur with similar frequency, that they partially overlap in Wilms tumors, and that mutations in WT1, WTX, and CTNNB1 underlie the genetic basis of about one-third of Wilms tumors. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.