Gene mutation analysis and immunohistochemical study of β-catenin in odontogenic tumors


Yukichi Tanaka, MD, Division of Pathology, Kanagawa Children's Medical Center, Mutsukawa 2-138-4, Yokohama, Japan. Email:


In the present study the significance of nuclear/cytoplasmic expression of β-catenin (CTNNB1) and mutation of the CTNNB1 gene (CTNNB1) in odontogenic tumors was examined. Six ameloblastomas (five follicular ameloblastomas and one plexiform ameloblastoma) and three malignant odontogenic tumors (one metastasizing ameloblastoma, one ameloblastic carcinoma, and one primary intraosseous odontogenic carcinoma) were investigated for CTNNB1 expression and CTNNB1 mutation. Immunohistochemically, all follicular ameloblastomas and one primary intraosseous odontogenic carcinoma exhibited focal and moderate nuclear/cytoplasmic expression of CTNNB1, whereas the plexiform ameloblastoma and the remaining two malignant odontogenic tumors had entirely membranous expression. CTNNB1 mutation at codon 40 of exon 3 was found in one of the six follicular ameloblastomas. The other five follicular ameloblastomas, the plexiform ameloblastoma, and the three malignant odontogenic tumors did not show mutation in exon 3 of CTNNB1. These findings further confirmed that CTNNB1 mutation is not frequent in ameloblastoma and malignant odontogenic tumors, although the abnormality of Wnt signaling may be associated with some of these tumors.