Pulmonary tumorlets are minute neuroendocrine cell proliferations believed to be precursor lesions to pulmonary carcinoids. Little is known of their molecular pathogenesis because of their small size. Using tissue microdissection, we evaluated 11q13 region allelic imbalance in the pathogenesis of pulmonary tumorlet/carcinoid lesions. The int-2 gene was selected because of its chromosomal location at 11q13 in close proximity to MEN1, a tumor suppressor gene frequently mutated in familial forms of neuroendocrine cancer. Three cohorts of patients were studied: subjects with typical carcinoid tumors and coexisting tumorlets (n = 5), typical carcinoids without tumorlets (n = 6), and tumorlets alone without carcinoid lesions (n = 5). A total of 11 carcinoids and 11 tumorlets were microdissected from 4- μm-thick histological sections. Genotyping was designed to detect allelic imbalance of the int-2 gene and involved DNA sequencing of two closely spaced deoxynucleotide polymorphisms. Subjects shown to be informative were evaluated for allelic imbalance in tumorlet/carcinoid tissue. Eight of 11 (73%) carcinoids manifested allelic, in contrast to only one of 11 (9%) of tumorlets. Int-2 allelic imbalance was significantly associated with carcinoid tumor formation (P < 0.01). In patients having both carcinoid tumors and tumorlets, the latter showed allelic balance and were thus discordant in genotype with coexisting carcinoid excluding pathogenesis of tumorlets from intramucosal spread from carcinoid tumors. Int-2 allelic imbalance was shown to be an early event in carcinoid tumor formation by virtue of the absence of allelic imbalance for other common cancer-related gene disturbances involving 11p13 (Wilms' tumor), 3p25 (von-Hippel-Lindau), and 17p13 (p53). Demonstration of 11q13 allelic imbalance by microdissection/genotyping may be a useful discriminatory marker for pulmonary neuroendocrine neoplasia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine