Lack of Association between Microsatellite Instability and Benign Adrenal Tumors
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The adrenal gland may give rise to pheochromocytomas, which are catecholamine-producing tumors originating from the adrenal medulla, or to adrenocortical tumors, which derive from the adrenocortical cortex and may be secreting or not. The genetic mechanisms underlying the formation of these tumors include somatic mutations in susceptibility genes, especially in the familial forms, and allelic loss, especially in chromosome 1.
The aim of this study was to investigate a third genetic mechanism by evaluating microsatellite instability using the reference markers (Bat25, Bat26, D2S123, D5S346, D17S250) validated by the National Cancer Institute. Microsatellite loci were analyzed in 32 benign tumors, including 11 pheochromocytomas and 21 adrenocortical tumors, in patients with and without familial syndrome.
The different alleles of microsatellite loci were reliably detected by DNA fragments analysis, whereas data obtained after melting-point analysis on the Lightcycler were inconsistent. No microsatellite instability was detected in any tumor. One patient with a unilateral pheochromocytoma showed a loss of heterozygosity for D17S250. A second patient with a MEN-2A syndrome and a two-sided pheochromocytoma exhibited a loss of heterozygosity for D2S123 in the right tumor only and a retention of heterozygosity for all markers in the left tumor.
These results suggest that microsatellite instability, evaluated by the five reference markers of the National Cancer Institute, is not a feature of benign adrenal tumors.