Gene Summary

Gene:NF1; neurofibromin 1
Aliases: WSS, NFNS, VRNF
Summary:This gene product appears to function as a negative regulator of the ras signal transduction pathway. Mutations in this gene have been linked to neurofibromatosis type 1, juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia and Watson syndrome. The mRNA for this gene is subject to RNA editing (CGA>UGA->Arg1306Term) resulting in premature translation termination. Alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding different isoforms have also been described for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Source:NCBIAccessed: 17 August, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (71)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
Show (2)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 17 August 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

Tag cloud generated 17 August, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (6)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: NF1 (cancer-related)

Patch AM, Christie EL, Etemadmoghadam D, et al.
Whole-genome characterization of chemoresistant ovarian cancer.
Nature. 2015; 521(7553):489-94 [PubMed] Related Publications
Patients with high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSC) have experienced little improvement in overall survival, and standard treatment has not advanced beyond platinum-based combination chemotherapy, during the past 30 years. To understand the drivers of clinical phenotypes better, here we use whole-genome sequencing of tumour and germline DNA samples from 92 patients with primary refractory, resistant, sensitive and matched acquired resistant disease. We show that gene breakage commonly inactivates the tumour suppressors RB1, NF1, RAD51B and PTEN in HGSC, and contributes to acquired chemotherapy resistance. CCNE1 amplification was common in primary resistant and refractory disease. We observed several molecular events associated with acquired resistance, including multiple independent reversions of germline BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations in individual patients, loss of BRCA1 promoter methylation, an alteration in molecular subtype, and recurrent promoter fusion associated with overexpression of the drug efflux pump MDR1.

Brossier NM, Prechtl AM, Longo JF, et al.
Classic Ras Proteins Promote Proliferation and Survival via Distinct Phosphoproteome Alterations in Neurofibromin-Null Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor Cells.
J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2015; 74(6):568-86 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2016 Related Publications
Neurofibromin, the tumor suppressor encoded by the neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) gene, potentially suppresses the activation of H-Ras, N-Ras, and K-Ras. However, it is not known whether these classic Ras proteins are hyperactivated in NF1-null nerve sheath tumors, how they contribute to tumorigenesis, and what signaling pathways mediate their effects. Here we show that H-Ras, N-Ras, and K-Ras are coexpressed with their activators (guanine nucleotide exchange factors) in neurofibromin-null malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST) cells, and that all 3 Ras proteins are activated. Dominant negative (DN) H-Ras, a pan-inhibitor of the classic Ras family, inhibited MPNST proliferation and survival, but not migration. However, NF1-null MPNST cells were variably dependent on individual Ras proteins. In some lines, ablation of H-Ras, N-Ras, and/or K-Ras inhibited mitogenesis. In others, ablation of a single Ras protein had no effect on proliferation; in these lines, ablation of a single Ras protein resulted in compensatory increases in the activation and/or expression of other Ras proteins. Using mass spectrometry-based phosphoproteomics, we identified 7 signaling networks affecting morphology, proliferation, and survival that are regulated by DN H-Ras. Thus, neurofibromin loss activates multiple classic Ras proteins that promote proliferation and survival by regulating several distinct signaling cascades.

Ross JS, Badve S, Wang K, et al.
Genomic profiling of advanced-stage, metaplastic breast carcinoma by next-generation sequencing reveals frequent, targetable genomic abnormalities and potential new treatment options.
Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2015; 139(5):642-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
CONTEXT: Metastatic metaplastic breast carcinoma (MPBC) is an uncommon, but aggressive, tumor resistant to conventional chemotherapy.
OBJECTIVE: To learn whether next-generation sequencing could identify potential targets of therapy for patients with relapsed and metastatic MPBC.
DESIGN: Hybridization capture of 3769 exons from 236 cancer-related genes and 47 introns of 19 genes commonly rearranged in cancer was applied to a minimum of 50 ng of DNA extracted from 20 MPBC formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded specimens and sequenced to high uniform coverage.
RESULTS: The 20 patients with MPBC had a median age of 62 years (range, 42-86 years). There were 9 squamous (45%), 9 chondroid (45%), and 2 spindle cell (10%) MPBCs, all of which were high grade. Ninety-three genomic alterations were identified, (range, 1-11) with 19 of the 20 cases (95%) harboring an alteration that could potentially lead to a targeted treatment option. The most-common alterations were in TP53 (n = 69; 75%), PIK3CA (n = 37; 40%), MYC (n = 28; 30%), MLL2 (n = 28; 30%), PTEN (n = 23; 25%), CDKN2A/B (n = 19; 20%), CCND3 (n = 14; 15%), CCNE1 (n = 9; 10%), EGFR (n = 9; 10%), and KDM6A (n = 9; 10%); AKT3, CCND1, CCND2, CDK4, FBXW7, FGFR1, HRAS, NF1, PIK3R1, and SRC were each altered in a single case. All 16 MPBCs (100%) that were negative for ERBB2 (HER2) overexpression by immunohistochemistry and/or ERBB2 (HER2) amplification by fluorescence in situ hybridization were also uniformly (100%) negative for ERBB2 amplification by next-generation sequencing-based copy-number assessment.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that genomic profiling using next-generation sequencing can identify clinically meaningful alterations that have the potential to guide targeted treatment decisions in most patients with metastatic MPBC.

Ratner N, Miller SJ
A RASopathy gene commonly mutated in cancer: the neurofibromatosis type 1 tumour suppressor.
Nat Rev Cancer. 2015; 15(5):290-301 [PubMed] Related Publications
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a common genetic disorder that predisposes affected individuals to tumours. The NF1 gene encodes a RAS GTPase-activating protein called neurofibromin and is one of several genes that (when mutant) affect RAS-MAPK signalling, causing related diseases collectively known as RASopathies. Several RASopathies, beyond NF1, are cancer predisposition syndromes. Somatic NF1 mutations also occur in 5-10% of human sporadic cancers and may contribute to resistance to therapy. To highlight areas for investigation in RASopathies and sporadic tumours with NF1 mutations, we summarize current knowledge of NF1 disease, the NF1 gene and neurofibromin, neurofibromin signalling pathways and recent developments in NF1 therapeutics.

Deyle DR, Escobar DZ, Peng KW, Babovic-Vuksanovic D
Oncolytic measles virus as a novel therapy for malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors.
Gene. 2015; 565(1):140-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs) are devastating soft tissue sarcomas that can arise sporadically or in association with neurofibromatosis type I, have a poor prognosis, and have limited treatment options. Oncolytic measles virus therapy has been demonstrated to have significant antitumor properties in a number of different cancers, but the oncolytic potential of a MV Edmonston (MVEdm) vaccine strain engineered to express the human sodium iodide symporter (MV-NIS) on MPNST has not previously been evaluated. MPNST cell lines were found to highly express CD46, a cellular receptor required for measles viral entry, on their cell surface. After in vitro MV-NIS infection, MPNST cell lines showed significant cytopathic effect (CPE), while normal Schwann cells were less susceptible to CPE. Virus localization and distribution could be monitored by imaging of I-125 uptake. Local administration of MV-NIS into MPNST-derived tumors resulted in significant regression of tumor and improved survival. These results demonstrate feasibility of oncolytic measles virus therapy for MPNST patients and the possibility of a novel treatment for patients with NF1 tumors.

Pižem J, Velikonja M, Matjašič A, et al.
Pseudoangiomatous stromal hyperplasia with multinucleated stromal giant cells is neither exceptional in gynecomastia nor characteristic of neurofibromatosis type 1.
Virchows Arch. 2015; 466(4):465-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
Six cases of gynecomastia with pseudoangiomatous stromal hyperplasia (PASH) and multinucleated stromal giant cells (MSGC) associated with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) have been reported, and finding MSGC within PASH in gynecomastia has been suggested as being a characteristic of NF1. The frequency of PASH with MSGC in gynecomastia and its specificity for NF1 have not, however, been systematically studied. A total of 337 gynecomastia specimens from 215 patients, aged from 8 to 78 years (median, 22 years) were reevaluated for the presence of PASH with MSGC. Breast tissue samples of 25 patients were analyzed for the presence of an NF1 gene mutation using next generation sequencing. Rare MSGC, usually in the background of PASH, were noted at least unilaterally in 27 (13 %) patients; and prominent MSGC, always in the background of PASH, were noted in 8 (4 %) patients. The NF1 gene was mutated in only 1 (an 8-year-old boy with known NF1 and prominent MSGC) of the 25 tested patients, including 6 patients with prominent MSGC and 19 patients with rare MSGC. MSGC, usually in the background of PASH, are not characteristic of NF1.

Asai A, Karnan S, Ota A, et al.
High-resolution 400K oligonucleotide array comparative genomic hybridization analysis of neurofibromatosis type 1-associated cutaneous neurofibromas.
Gene. 2015; 558(2):220-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a genetic disorder where affected individuals develop benign or malignant nervous system tumors. To date, NF1 is caused by mutations in the NF1 tumor suppressor gene located at chromosome band 17q11.2. In this study, we aimed to characterize novel recurrent regional chromosomal imbalances and tumor-related candidate genes in NF1-associated cutaneous neurofibromas. Nine cutaneous neurofibromas from NF1 patients were screened for recurrent chromosomal imbalances using high-resolution 400K oligonucleotide array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH). All the cases exhibited at least one sub-microscopic abnormality. Regions of recurrent chromosomal imbalances in a least one third of cases were loss of 1q13.2 (33%, FAM19A3), 1q21.1 (44%, RABGAP1L), 2q37.1 (56%, INPP5D), 3p25.1 (67%, CHCHD4), 4p15.32 (56%, FGFBP1), 5q11.2 (56%, ARL15), 6q22.31 (56%, NKAIN2), 6q22.33 (67%, ARHGAP18), 6q25.1 (67%, UST), 7q13 (56%, ADCY1), 12q13.13 (44%, KRT71), 19q13.32 (56%, GRLF1), and 20p11.21 (56%, NLP) and gain of 2p23.3 (76%, C2orf53), 8q22.3 (44%, ODF1) and 8q24.3 (67%, ARC). Several chromosomal imbalances, including loss of 7q11.23, 13q14.1, 14q32.13, 17p12, and 17q11.2 were detected at a lower frequency. We also confirmed that these chromosomal imbalances were not detected in the patient-matched lymphocyte DNAs. Amongst the 6 tumor-related candidate genes (RABGAP1L, ADCY1, SLIT2, GRLF1, UST, and ARC) identified in the regions of recurrent chromosomal imbalances, the gene expression changes of UST (down-regulation) and ARC (up-regulation) were found to be significantly associated with copy number alterations. The novel recurrent chromosomal imbalances and the altered expression levels of the tumor-related candidate genes may be associated with the development of NF1-associated benign cutaneous neurofibromas.

Appin CL, Brat DJ
Molecular pathways in gliomagenesis and their relevance to neuropathologic diagnosis.
Adv Anat Pathol. 2015; 22(1):50-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gliomas are a large and diverse group of primary brain tumors that include those that are diffusely infiltrative and others that are well-circumscribed and low grade. Diffuse gliomas are currently classified by the World Health Organization as astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, or oligoastrocytomas and range in grade from II to IV. Glioblastoma (GBM), World Health Organization grade IV, is the highest grade and most common form of astrocytoma. In the past, the diagnosis of gliomas was almost exclusively based on histopathologic features. More recently, improved understanding of molecular genetic underpinnings has led to ancillary molecular studies becoming standard for classification, prognostication, and predicting therapy response. Isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) mutations are frequent in grade II and III infiltrating gliomas and secondary GBMs. Infiltrating astrocytomas and secondary GBMs are characterized by IDH, TP53, and ATRX mutations, whereas oligodendrogliomas demonstrate 1p/19q codeletion and mutations in IDH, CIC, FUBP1, and the telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) promoter. Primary GBMs typically lack IDH mutations and are instead characterized by EGFR, PTEN, TP53, PDGFRA, NF1, and CDKN2A/B alterations and TERT promoter mutations. Pediatric GBMs differ from those in adults and frequently have mutations in H3F3A, ATRX, and DAXX, but not IDH. In contrast, circumscribed, low-grade gliomas of childhood, such as pilocytic astrocytoma, pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma, and ganglioglioma, often harbor mutations or activating gene rearrangements in BRAF. Neuropathologic assessment of gliomas increasingly relies on ancillary testing of molecular alterations for proper classification and patient management.

Warrington NM, Sun T, Luo J, et al.
The cyclic AMP pathway is a sex-specific modifier of glioma risk in type I neurofibromatosis patients.
Cancer Res. 2015; 75(1):16-21 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/01/2016 Related Publications
Identifying modifiers of glioma risk in patients with type I neurofibromatosis (NF1) could help support personalized tumor surveillance, advance understanding of gliomagenesis, and potentially identify novel therapeutic targets. Here, we report genetic polymorphisms in the human adenylate cyclase gene adenylate cyclase 8 (ADCY8) that correlate with glioma risk in NF1 in a sex-specific manner, elevating risk in females while reducing risk in males. This finding extends earlier evidence of a role for cAMP in gliomagenesis based on results in a genetically engineered mouse model (Nf1 GEM). Thus, sexually dimorphic cAMP signaling might render males and females differentially sensitive to variation in cAMP levels. Using male and female Nf1 GEM, we found significant sex differences exist in cAMP regulation and in the growth-promoting effects of cAMP suppression. Overall, our results establish a sex-specific role for cAMP regulation in human gliomagenesis, specifically identifying ADCY8 as a modifier of glioma risk in NF1.

Maruoka R, Takenouchi T, Torii C, et al.
The use of next-generation sequencing in molecular diagnosis of neurofibromatosis type 1: a validation study.
Genet Test Mol Biomarkers. 2014; 18(11):722-35 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
AIMS: We assessed the validity of a next-generation sequencing protocol using in-solution hybridization-based enrichment to identify NF1 mutations for the diagnosis of 86 patients with a prototypic genetic syndrome, neurofibromatosis type 1. In addition, other causative genes for classic genetic syndromes were set as the target genes for coverage analysis.
RESULTS: The protocol identified 30 nonsense, 19 frameshift, and 8 splice-site mutations, together with 10 nucleotide substitutions that were previously reported to be pathogenic. In the remaining 19 samples, 10 had single-exon or multiple-exon deletions detected by a multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification method and 3 had missense mutations that were not observed in the normal Japanese SNP database and were predicted to be pathogenic. Coverage analysis of the genes other than the NF1 gene included on the same diagnostic panel indicated that the mean coverage was 115-fold, a sufficient depth for mutation detection.
CONCLUSIONS: The overall mutation detection rate using the currently reported method in 86 patients who met the clinical diagnostic criteria was 92.1% (70/76) when 10 patients with large deletions were excluded. The results validate the clinical utility of this next-generation sequencing-based method for the diagnosis of neurofibromatosis type 1. Comparable detection rates can be expected for other genetic syndromes, based on the results of the coverage analysis.

Lee W, Teckie S, Wiesner T, et al.
PRC2 is recurrently inactivated through EED or SUZ12 loss in malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors.
Nat Genet. 2014; 46(11):1227-32 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs) represent a group of highly aggressive soft-tissue sarcomas that may occur sporadically, in association with neurofibromatosis type I (NF1 associated) or after radiotherapy. Using comprehensive genomic approaches, we identified loss-of-function somatic alterations of the Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) components (EED or SUZ12) in 92% of sporadic, 70% of NF1-associated and 90% of radiotherapy-associated MPNSTs. MPNSTs with PRC2 loss showed complete loss of trimethylation at lysine 27 of histone H3 (H3K27me3) and aberrant transcriptional activation of multiple PRC2-repressed homeobox master regulators and their regulated developmental pathways. Introduction of the lost PRC2 component in a PRC2-deficient MPNST cell line restored H3K27me3 levels and decreased cell growth. Additionally, we identified frequent somatic alterations of CDKN2A (81% of all MPNSTs) and NF1 (72% of non-NF1-associated MPNSTs), both of which significantly co-occur with PRC2 alterations. The highly recurrent and specific inactivation of PRC2 components, NF1 and CDKN2A highlights their critical and potentially cooperative roles in MPNST pathogenesis.

Nannini M, Astolfi A, Urbini M, et al.
Integrated genomic study of quadruple-WT GIST (KIT/PDGFRA/SDH/RAS pathway wild-type GIST).
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:685 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: About 10-15% of adult gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) and the vast majority of pediatric GIST do not harbour KIT or platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRA) mutations (J Clin Oncol 22:3813-3825, 2004; Hematol Oncol Clin North Am 23:15-34, 2009). The molecular biology of these GIST, originally defined as KIT/PDGFRA wild-type (WT), is complex due to the existence of different subgroups with distinct molecular hallmarks, including defects in the succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) complex and mutations of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), BRAF, or KRAS genes (RAS-pathway or RAS-P).In this extremely heterogeneous landscape, the clinical profile and molecular abnormalities of the small subgroup of WT GIST suitably referred to as quadruple wild-type GIST (quadrupleWT or KITWT/PDGFRAWT/SDHWT/RAS-PWT) remains undefined. The aim of this study is to investigate the genomic profile of KITWT/PDGFRAWT/SDHWT/RAS-PWT GIST, by using a massively parallel sequencing and microarray approach, and compare it with the genomic profile of other GIST subtypes.
METHODS: We performed a whole genome analysis using a massively parallel sequencing approach on a total of 16 GIST cases (2 KITWT/PDGFRAWT/SDHWT and SDHBIHC+/SDHAIHC+, 2 KITWT/PDGFRAWT/SDHAmut and SDHBIHC-/SDHAIHC- and 12 cases of KITmut or PDGFRAmut GIST). To confirm and extend the results, whole-genome gene expression analysis by microarray was performed on 9 out 16 patients analyzed by RNAseq and an additional 20 GIST patients (1 KITWT/PDGFRAWTSDHAmut GIST and 19 KITmut or PDGFRAmut GIST). The most impressive data were validated by quantitave PCR and Western Blot analysis.
RESULTS: We found that both cases of quadrupleWT GIST had a genomic profile profoundly different from both either KIT/PDGFRA mutated or SDHA-mutated GIST. In particular, the quadrupleWT GIST tumors are characterized by the overexpression of molecular markers (CALCRL and COL22A1) and of specific oncogenes including tyrosine and cyclin- dependent kinases (NTRK2 and CDK6) and one member of the ETS-transcription factor family (ERG).
CONCLUSION: We report for the first time an integrated genomic picture of KITWT/PDGFRAWT/SDHWT/RAS-PWT GIST, using massively parallel sequencing and gene expression analyses, and found that quadrupleWT GIST have an expression signature that is distinct from SDH-mutant GIST as well as GIST harbouring mutations in KIT or PDGFRA. Our findings suggest that quadrupleWT GIST represent another unique group within the family of gastrointestintal stromal tumors.

Abramowicz A, Gos M
Neurofibromin in neurofibromatosis type 1 - mutations in NF1gene as a cause of disease.
Dev Period Med. 2014 Jul-Sep; 18(3):297-306 [PubMed] Related Publications
Neurofibromatosis type I (NF1) is a disease associated with the presence of benign neurofibromas and malignant tumours of the central and peripheral nervous system, that are accompanied by characteristic changes in the skin, such as café-au-lait spots or axillary freckling. In 50% of NF1 patients, the clinical symptoms become apparent below 1st year and in 97%, before the age of 8 years. The disease is mainly caused by the presence of mutation in the NF1 gene that encodes neurofibromin - a protein involved in the regulation of several cellular signaling pathways responsible for cell proliferation and differentiation. Neurofibromin is necessary for embryonic development and involved mainly in the differentiation of neural crest derived cells, mesenchymal cells, neural cells, melanocytes and bone cells. Type I neurofibromatosis is inherited in autosomal dominant manner, nevertheless about 50% of detected mutations are de novo ones. The mutations have full penetrance, although they also have significant pleiotropic effect. Over 1485 different mutations have been identified in the NF1 gene so far, most of which lead to a synthesis of truncated, non-functional protein. It is estimated that the point mutations are responsible for approximately 90% of cases of NF1. The remaining 5-7% of NF1 cases are associated with the presence of a single exon or whole NF1 gene deletion (17q11.2 microdeletion syndrome). The article discusses the role of neurofibromin in cell signaling with the special attention to RAS/MAPK pathway regulation as well as in organism development. Also the basic methods of molecular analysis of NF1 gene are presented in the context of their application in the diagnosis and clinical differentiation of the disease.

Bezniakow N, Gos M, Obersztyn E
The RASopathies as an example of RAS/MAPK pathway disturbances - clinical presentation and molecular pathogenesis of selected syndromes.
Dev Period Med. 2014 Jul-Sep; 18(3):285-96 [PubMed] Related Publications
The RASopathies are a class of developmental syndromes. Each of them exhibits distinctive phenotypic features, although there are numerous overlapping clinical manifestations that include: dysmorphic craniofacial features, congenital cardiac defects, skin abnormalities, varying degrees of intellectual disability and increased risk of malignancies. These disorders include: Noonan syndrome, Costello syndrome, LEOPARD syndrome, cardio-facio-cutaneous syndrome (CFC), capillary malformation-arteriovenous malformation syndrome (CM-AVM), Legius syndrome and neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). The RASopathies are associated with the presence of germline mutation in genes encoding specific proteins of the RAS/mitogen - activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway that plays a crucial role in embryonic and postnatal development. In this review, we present the clinical and molecular features of selected syndromes from the RASopathies group.

Laczmańska I, Szczepaniak M, Jakubiak A, Stembalska A
Exonic deletions in the NF1 gene in patients with neurofibromatosis type I from the lower Silesian region of Poland.
Adv Clin Exp Med. 2014 Jul-Aug; 23(4):517-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Neurofibromatosis type I (NF1, Recklinghausen's disease) is an autosomal dominant disorder characterized by the following clinical features: café au lait spots, neurofibromas, Lisch nodules, freckling of the axillary and inguinal regions, optic nerve gliomas, bone dysplasia and increased risk of certain tumors. NF1 is diagnosed on the basis of clinical criteria, while identifying the genetic background of the disease is important mainly for genetic counseling. NF1 genetic analysis is based on searching for NF1 exon deletions/duplications using Multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA), searching for microdeletions of the critical region using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), searching for point mutations by gene sequencing (in most cases) and analyzing mRNA.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to estimate the frequency of single and multi-exon deletions/duplications in the NF1 gene in Polish patients, and to evaluate the usefulness of MLPA as a cheap and easy method for NF1 molecular diagnosis, despite the fact that such changes may be found in only a small group of NF1 patients.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The study included 65 patients suspected of NF1 or with recognized NF1 on the basis of clinical criteria. Cytogenetic analysis were carried out for all the patients, and for one patient with a translocation [46,XY,t(17;22)(q11.2;q11.2)], a FISH analysis was performed. All patients were tested for deletions/duplications in the NF1 gene using two MLPA kits for neurofibromatosis I.
RESULTS: The MLPA analysis showed deletions in the NF1 gene in 7.7% of the cases (5/65).
CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that an MLPA analysis may be performed in patients with a clinical diagnosis of NF1 or patients with suspected NF1 as an easy and inexpensive first molecular test, enabling the exclusion of about 7% of NF1 patients from expensive and time-consuming molecular diagnosis by DNA sequencing.

Schwetye KE, Gutmann DH
Cognitive and behavioral problems in children with neurofibromatosis type 1: challenges and future directions.
Expert Rev Neurother. 2014; 14(10):1139-52 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cognitive and behavioral disorders affect nearly 80% of all children with the neurofibromatosis type 1 inherited cancer syndrome, and are among the most significant clinical manifestations for patients and their families. One of the barriers to successful therapeutic intervention is the wide spectrum of clinical phenotypic expression, ranging from visuospatial learning problems to social perceptual deficits (autism). Leveraging numerous small-animal models of neurofibromatosis type 1, several promising targets have been identified to treat the learning, attention, and autism spectrum phenotypes in this at-risk population. In this review, we provide an up-to-date summary of our current understanding of these disorders in NF1, and propose future research directions aimed at designing more effective therapeutic approaches and clinical trials.

De Raedt T, Beert E, Pasmant E, et al.
PRC2 loss amplifies Ras-driven transcription and confers sensitivity to BRD4-based therapies.
Nature. 2014; 514(7521):247-51 [PubMed] Related Publications
The polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) exerts oncogenic effects in many tumour types. However, loss-of-function mutations in PRC2 components occur in a subset of haematopoietic malignancies, suggesting that this complex plays a dichotomous and poorly understood role in cancer. Here we provide genomic, cellular, and mouse modelling data demonstrating that the polycomb group gene SUZ12 functions as tumour suppressor in PNS tumours, high-grade gliomas and melanomas by cooperating with mutations in NF1. NF1 encodes a Ras GTPase-activating protein (RasGAP) and its loss drives cancer by activating Ras. We show that SUZ12 loss potentiates the effects of NF1 mutations by amplifying Ras-driven transcription through effects on chromatin. Importantly, however, SUZ12 inactivation also triggers an epigenetic switch that sensitizes these cancers to bromodomain inhibitors. Collectively, these studies not only reveal an unexpected connection between the PRC2 complex, NF1 and Ras, but also identify a promising epigenetic-based therapeutic strategy that may be exploited for a variety of cancers.

Ozawa T, Riester M, Cheng YK, et al.
Most human non-GCIMP glioblastoma subtypes evolve from a common proneural-like precursor glioma.
Cancer Cell. 2014; 26(2):288-300 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
To understand the relationships between the non-GCIMP glioblastoma (GBM) subgroups, we performed mathematical modeling to predict the temporal sequence of driver events during tumorigenesis. The most common order of evolutionary events is 1) chromosome (chr) 7 gain and chr10 loss, followed by 2) CDKN2A loss and/or TP53 mutation, and 3) alterations canonical for specific subtypes. We then developed a computational methodology to identify drivers of broad copy number changes, identifying PDGFA (chr7) and PTEN (chr10) as driving initial nondisjunction events. These predictions were validated using mouse modeling, showing that PDGFA is sufficient to induce proneural-like gliomas and that additional NF1 loss converts proneural to the mesenchymal subtype. Our findings suggest that most non-GCIMP mesenchymal GBMs arise as, and evolve from, a proneural-like precursor.

Park GH, Lee SJ, Yim H, et al.
TAGLN expression is upregulated in NF1-associated malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors by hypomethylation in its promoter and subpromoter regions.
Oncol Rep. 2014; 32(4):1347-54 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) caused by NF1 gene mutation is a commonly inherited autosomal dominant disorder. Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs), a type of aggressive sarcoma, are a major cause of mortality in NF1 patients. The malignant transformation of benign plexiform neurofibromas (PNs) to MPNSTs is a marked peculiarity in NF1 patients, yet the pathogenesis remains poorly understood. We found that an actin-associated protein transgelin (SM22) was highly expressed in NF1-deficient MPNST tissues compared to NF1-deficient PN tissues using immunohistological staining and primary cultured MPNST cells in western blot analysis. We further found that this transgelin upregulation was caused by increased transcriptional expression of the TAGLN gene encoding transgelin. Comparison of DNA methylation values in the promoter and subpromoter regions of the TAGLN gene in three types of NF1-deficient primary-cultured cells, derived from an NF1 patient's normal phenotype, a benign PN and MPNST tissues, revealed that the TAGLN gene was hypomethylated in the MPNST cells. Next, to determine the functional role of transgelin in MPNST pathogenesis, we manipulated the TAGLN gene expression and investigated the alteration of the RAS-mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway in the normal-phenotypic and malignant tumor cells. The downregulation of TAGLN expression in NF1-deficient MPNST tumor cells through the treatment of the small interfering RNA resulted in a decrease in the RAS activation (GTP-RAS) and the downstream ERK1/2 activation (phosphorylated ERK1/2), while the overexpression of TAGLN in normal-phenotypic NF1-deficient cells caused an increase in RAS and ERK1/2 activation. These results indicate that upregulation of transgelin caused by hypomethylation of the TAGLN gene is closely involved in tumor progression in NF1.

Kobayashi D, Hirayama M, Komohara Y, et al.
Translationally controlled tumor protein is a novel biological target for neurofibromatosis type 1-associated tumors.
J Biol Chem. 2014; 289(38):26314-26 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 19/09/2015 Related Publications
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is an autosomal dominant disease that predisposes individuals to develop benign neurofibromas and malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs). Due to the lack of information on the molecular mechanism of NF1-associated tumor pathogenesis or biomarkers/therapeutic targets, an effective treatment for NF1 tumors has not been established. In this study, the novel NF1-associated protein, translationally controlled tumor protein (TCTP), was identified by integrated proteomics and found to be up-regulated via activated MAPK/PI3K-AKT signaling in response to growth factors in NF1-deficient Schwann cells. Immunohistochemical analysis of NF1-associated tumors revealed that the TCTP expression level correlated with tumorigenicity. In NF1-deficient MPNST cells, TCTP protein but not mRNA was down-regulated by NF1 GTPase-activating protein-related domain or MAPK/PI3K inhibitors, and this correlated with suppression of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling. mTOR inhibition by rapamycin also down-regulated TCTP protein expression, whereas knockdown or overexpression of TCTP suppressed or activated mTOR signaling, respectively, and affected cell viability. These results suggest that a positive feedback loop between TCTP and mTOR contributes to NF1-associated tumor formation. Last, the anti-tumor effect of artesunate, which binds to and degrades TCTP, was evaluated. Artesunate significantly suppressed the viability of MPNST cells but not normal Schwann cells, and the TCTP level inversely correlated with artesunate sensitivity. Moreover, combinational use of artesunate and rapamycin enhanced the cytotoxic effect on MPNST cells. These findings suggest that TCTP is functionally implicated in the progression of NF1-associated tumors and could serve as a biological target for their therapy.

Sun T, Warrington NM, Luo J, et al.
Sexually dimorphic RB inactivation underlies mesenchymal glioblastoma prevalence in males.
J Clin Invest. 2014; 124(9):4123-33 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 19/09/2015 Related Publications
The prevalence of brain tumors in males is common but unexplained. While sex differences in disease are typically mediated through acute sex hormone actions, sex-specific differences in brain tumor rates are comparable at all ages, suggesting that factors other than sex hormones underlie this discrepancy. We found that mesenchymal glioblastoma (Mes-GBM) affects more males as the result of cell-intrinsic sexual dimorphism in astrocyte transformation. We used astrocytes from neurofibromin-deficient (Nf1(-/-)) mice expressing a dominant-negative form of the tumor suppressor p53 (DNp53) and treated them with EGF as a Mes-GBM model. Male Mes-GBM astrocytes exhibited greater growth and colony formation compared with female Mes-GBM astrocytes. Moreover, male Mes-GBM astrocytes underwent greater tumorigenesis in vivo, regardless of recipient mouse sex. Male Mes-GBM astrocytes exhibited greater inactivation of the tumor suppressor RB, higher proliferation rates, and greater induction of a clonogenic, stem-like cell population compared with female Mes-GBM astrocytes. Furthermore, complete inactivation of RB and p53 in Mes-GBM astrocytes resulted in equivalent male and female tumorigenic transformation, indicating that intrinsic differences in RB activation are responsible for the predominance of tumorigenic transformation in male astrocytes. Together, these results indicate that cell-intrinsic sex differences in RB regulation and stem-like cell function may underlie the predominance of GBM in males.

Comprehensive molecular profiling of lung adenocarcinoma.
Nature. 2014; 511(7511):543-50 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 19/09/2015 Related Publications
Adenocarcinoma of the lung is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Here we report molecular profiling of 230 resected lung adenocarcinomas using messenger RNA, microRNA and DNA sequencing integrated with copy number, methylation and proteomic analyses. High rates of somatic mutation were seen (mean 8.9 mutations per megabase). Eighteen genes were statistically significantly mutated, including RIT1 activating mutations and newly described loss-of-function MGA mutations which are mutually exclusive with focal MYC amplification. EGFR mutations were more frequent in female patients, whereas mutations in RBM10 were more common in males. Aberrations in NF1, MET, ERBB2 and RIT1 occurred in 13% of cases and were enriched in samples otherwise lacking an activated oncogene, suggesting a driver role for these events in certain tumours. DNA and mRNA sequence from the same tumour highlighted splicing alterations driven by somatic genomic changes, including exon 14 skipping in MET mRNA in 4% of cases. MAPK and PI(3)K pathway activity, when measured at the protein level, was explained by known mutations in only a fraction of cases, suggesting additional, unexplained mechanisms of pathway activation. These data establish a foundation for classification and further investigations of lung adenocarcinoma molecular pathogenesis.

Cai SP, Fan N, Chen J, et al.
A novel NF1 frame-shift mutation (c.702_703delGT) in a Chinese family with neurofibromatosis type 1.
Genet Mol Res. 2014; 13(3):5395-404 [PubMed] Related Publications
This study aimed to characterize the clinical features of a Chinese pedigree with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) and to identify mutations in the NF1 gene. In this three-generation family containing 8 members, 5 had been diagnosed with NF1 and the others were asymptomatic. All members of the family underwent complete medical examinations. Molecular genetic analyses were performed on all subjects included in the study. All exons of NF1 were amplified by polymerase chain reaction, sequenced, and compared with a reference database. Possible changes in function of the protein induced by amino acid variants were predicted by bioinformatic analysis. In this family, the 5 patients presented different clinical phenotypes, but all manifested typical café-au-lait macules. One novel frame-shift mutation, c.702_703delGT, in exon 7 of NF1 was identified in all affected family members, but not in the unaffected family members or in 102 normal controls. This mutation generates a premature stop codon at amino acid position 720. Additionally, a synonymous mutation c.702 G>A was found in 3 family members, including 2 affected and 1 normal individuals. In conclusion, our study suggests that a novel c.702_703delGT frame-shift mutation in NF1 is likely to be responsible for the pathogenesis of NF1 in this family. To the best of our knowledge, it is the first time that a c.702_703delGT mutation has been identified in a family with neurofibromatosis type 1.

Ross JS, Wang K, Rand JV, et al.
Next-generation sequencing of adrenocortical carcinoma reveals new routes to targeted therapies.
J Clin Pathol. 2014; 67(11):968-73 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 19/09/2015 Related Publications
AIMS: Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) carries a poor prognosis and current systemic cytotoxic therapies result in only modest improvement in overall survival. In this retrospective study, we performed a comprehensive genomic profiling of 29 consecutive ACC samples to identify potential targets of therapy not currently searched for in routine clinical practice.
METHODS: DNA from 29 ACC was sequenced to high, uniform coverage (Illumina HiSeq) and analysed for genomic alterations (GAs).
RESULTS: At least one GA was found in 22 (76%) ACC (mean 2.6 alterations per ACC). The most frequent GAs were in TP53 (34%), NF1 (14%), CDKN2A (14%), MEN1 (14%), CTNNB1 (10%) and ATM (10%). APC, CCND2, CDK4, DAXX, DNMT3A, KDM5C, LRP1B, MSH2 and RB1 were each altered in two cases (7%) and EGFR, ERBB4, KRAS, MDM2, NRAS, PDGFRB, PIK3CA, PTEN and PTCH1 were each altered in a single case (3%). In 17 (59%) of ACC, at least one GA was associated with an available therapeutic or a mechanism-based clinical trial.
CONCLUSIONS: Next-generation sequencing can discover targets of therapy for relapsed and metastatic ACC and shows promise to improve outcomes for this aggressive form of cancer.

Anastasaki C, Gutmann DH
Neuronal NF1/RAS regulation of cyclic AMP requires atypical PKC activation.
Hum Mol Genet. 2014; 23(25):6712-21 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 20/12/2015 Related Publications
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder in which affected individuals are prone to learning, attention and behavioral problems. Previous studies in mice and flies have yielded conflicting results regarding the specific effector pathways responsible for NF1 protein (neurofibromin) regulation of neuronal function, with both cyclic AMP (cAMP)- and RAS-dependent mechanisms described. Herein, we leverage a combination of induced pluripotent stem cell-derived NF1 patient neural progenitor cells and Nf1 genetically engineered mice to establish, for the first time, that neurofibromin regulation of cAMP requires RAS activation in human and mouse neurons. However, instead of involving RAS-mediated MEK/AKT signaling, RAS regulation of cAMP homeostasis operates through the activation of atypical protein kinase C zeta, leading to GRK2-driven Gαs inactivation. These findings reveal a novel mechanism by which RAS can regulate cAMP levels in the mammalian brain.

de la Croix Ndong J, Stevens DM, Vignaux G, et al.
Combined MEK inhibition and BMP2 treatment promotes osteoblast differentiation and bone healing in Nf1Osx -/- mice.
J Bone Miner Res. 2015; 30(1):55-63 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/01/2016 Related Publications
Neurofibromatosis type I (NF1) is an autosomal dominant disease with an incidence of 1/3000, caused by mutations in the NF1 gene, which encodes the RAS/GTPase-activating protein neurofibromin. Non-bone union after fracture (pseudarthrosis) in children with NF1 remains a challenging orthopedic condition to treat. Recent progress in understanding the biology of neurofibromin suggested that NF1 pseudarthrosis stems primarily from defects in the bone mesenchymal lineage and hypersensitivity of hematopoietic cells to TGFβ. However, clinically relevant pharmacological approaches to augment bone union in these patients remain limited. In this study, we report the generation of a novel conditional mutant mouse line used to model NF1 pseudoarthrosis, in which Nf1 can be ablated in an inducible fashion in osteoprogenitors of postnatal mice, thus circumventing the dwarfism associated with previous mouse models where Nf1 is ablated in embryonic mesenchymal cell lineages. An ex vivo-based cell culture approach based on the use of Nf1(flox/flox) bone marrow stromal cells showed that loss of Nf1 impairs osteoprogenitor cell differentiation in a cell-autonomous manner, independent of developmental growth plate-derived or paracrine/hormonal influences. In addition, in vitro gene expression and differentiation assays indicated that chronic ERK activation in Nf1-deficient osteoprogenitors blunts the pro-osteogenic property of BMP2, based on the observation that only combination treatment with BMP2 and MEK inhibition promoted the differentiation of Nf1-deficient osteoprogenitors. The in vivo preclinical relevance of these findings was confirmed by the improved bone healing and callus strength observed in Nf1osx (-/-) mice receiving Trametinib (a MEK inhibitor) and BMP2 released locally at the fracture site via a novel nanoparticle and polyglycidol-based delivery method. Collectively, these results provide novel evidence for a cell-autonomous role of neurofibromin in osteoprogenitor cells and insights about a novel targeted approach for the treatment of NF1 pseudoarthrosis.

Danielsen SA, Lind GE, Kolberg M, et al.
Methylated RASSF1A in malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors identifies neurofibromatosis type 1 patients with inferior prognosis.
Neuro Oncol. 2015; 17(1):63-9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/01/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST) is a rare and highly aggressive disease with no evidence of effect from adjuvant therapy. It is further associated with the hereditary syndrome neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). Silencing of the tumor suppressor gene RASSF1A through DNA promoter hypermethylation is known to be involved in cancer development, but its impact in MPNSTs remains unsettled.
METHODS: The RASSF1A promoter was analyzed by methylation-specific PCR in 113 specimens, including 44 NF1-associated MPNSTs, 47 sporadic MPNSTs, 21 benign neurofibromas, and 1 nonneoplastic nerve sheath control.
RESULTS: RASSF1A methylation was found only in the malignant samples (60%) and identified a subgroup among patients with NF1-associated MPNST with a poor prognosis. These patients had a mean 5-year disease-specific survival of 27.3 months (95% CI: 17.2-37.4) versus 47.4 months (95% CI: 37.5-57.2) for NF1 patients with unmethylated promoters, P = 0.014. In multivariate Cox regression analysis, methylated RASSF1A remained an adverse prognostic factor independent of clinical risk factors, P = .013 (hazard ratio: 5.2; 95% CI: 1.4-19.4).
CONCLUSION: A considerable number of MPNST samples display hypermethylation of the RASSF1A gene promoter, and for these tumors, this is the first molecular marker that if validated can characterize a subgroup of patients with inferior prognosis, restricted to individuals with NF1.

Qin X, Yao J, Geng P, et al.
LncRNA TSLC1-AS1 is a novel tumor suppressor in glioma.
Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2014; 7(6):3065-72 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/01/2016 Related Publications
Growing evidence demonstrates that long non coding RNAs (lncRNAs) play an important role in cancer origination and progression. A novel lncRNA, TSLC1-AS1, is the antisense transcript of tumor suppressor TSLC1. The expression profile and function of TSLC1-AS1 in glioma were investigated using Real-Time Quantitative PCR and siRNA knockdown. The data showed that TSLC1-AS1 expression was down-regulated in tumor tissues compared with that in adjacent normal tissues, and negatively associated with the WHO criteria of the tumors. Overexpression of TSLC1-AS1 resulted in up-regulation of TSLC1 and significant inhibition of cell proliferation, migration and invasion in U87 cells, while knockdown of TSLC1-AS1 in SNB-19 cells showed the opposite effect. The expression of TSLC1-AS1 was also positively correlated with other tumor suppressors NF1, VHL, PIK3R1 and negatively correlated with the oncogene BRAF. The results suggested that TSLC1-AS1 was a tumor suppressor of glioma and a mediator of TSLC1 expression. LncRNA TSLC1-AS1 may serve as a potential biomarker and therapeutic target for glioma.

Schulte KM, Talat N, Galata G, et al.
Genetics and the clinical approach to paragangliomas.
Horm Metab Res. 2014; 46(13):964-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
This study analyses new information on gene mutations in paragangliomas and puts them into a clinical context. A suspicion of malignancy is critical to determine the workup and surgical approach in adrenal (A-PGL) and extra-adrenal (E-PGL) paragangliomas (PGLs). Malignancy rates vary with location, family history, and gene tests results. Currently there is no algorithm incorporating the above information for clinical use. A sum of 1,821 articles were retrieved from PubMed using the search terms "paraganglioma genetics". Thirty-seven articles were selected of which 9 were analyzed. It was found that 599/2,487 (24%) patients affected with paragangliomas had a germline mutation. Of these 30.2% were mutations in SDHB, 25% VHL, 19.4% RET, 18.4% SDHD, 5.0% NF1, and 2.0% SDHC genes. A family history was positive in 18.1-64.3% of patients. Adrenal PGLs accounted for 55.1% in mutation (+) and 81.0% in mutation (-) patients (RR 1.2, p < 0.0001). Bilateral A-PGLs accounted for 56.4% in mutation (+) and 3.2% in mutation (-) patients (RR 8.7, p < 0.0001). E-PGL were found in 33.6% of mut+ and 17.3% of mut- (RR 1.7, p < 0.0001). In mutation (+) patients PGLs malignancy varied with location, adrenal (6.4%) thoraco-abdominal E-PGL (38%), H & N E-PGL (10%). Malignancy rates were 8.2% in mutation (-) and lower in mutation (+) PGLs except for SDHB 36.5% and SDHC 8.3%. Exclusion of a mutation lowered the probability of malignancy significantly in E-PGL (RR 0.03 (95% CI 0.1-0.6); p < 0.001). Mutation analysis provides valuable preoperative information to assess the risk of malignancy in A-PG and E-PGLs and should be considered in the work up of all E-PGL lesions.

De Mattos-Arruda L, Weigelt B, Cortes J, et al.
Capturing intra-tumor genetic heterogeneity by de novo mutation profiling of circulating cell-free tumor DNA: a proof-of-principle.
Ann Oncol. 2014; 25(9):1729-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Plasma-derived cell-free tumor DNA (ctDNA) constitutes a potential surrogate for tumor DNA obtained from tissue biopsies. We posit that massively parallel sequencing (MPS) analysis of ctDNA may help define the repertoire of mutations in breast cancer and monitor tumor somatic alterations during the course of targeted therapy.
PATIENT AND METHODS: A 66-year-old patient presented with synchronous estrogen receptor-positive/HER2-negative, highly proliferative, grade 2, mixed invasive ductal-lobular carcinoma with bone and liver metastases at diagnosis. DNA extracted from archival tumor material, plasma and peripheral blood leukocytes was subjected to targeted MPS using a platform comprising 300 cancer genes known to harbor actionable mutations. Multiple plasma samples were collected during the fourth line of treatment with an AKT inhibitor.
RESULTS: Average read depths of 287x were obtained from the archival primary tumor, 139x from the liver metastasis and between 200x and 900x from ctDNA samples. Sixteen somatic non-synonymous mutations were detected in the liver metastasis, of which 9 (CDKN2A, AKT1, TP53, JAK3, TSC1, NF1, CDH1, MML3 and CTNNB1) were also detected in >5% of the alleles found in the primary tumor sample. Not all mutations identified in the metastasis were reliably identified in the primary tumor (e.g. FLT4). Analysis of ctDNA, nevertheless, captured all mutations present in the primary tumor and/or liver metastasis. In the longitudinal monitoring of the patient, the mutant allele fractions identified in ctDNA samples varied over time and mirrored the pharmacodynamic response to the targeted therapy as assessed by positron emission tomography-computed tomography.
CONCLUSIONS: This proof-of-principle study is one of the first to demonstrate that high-depth targeted MPS of plasma-derived ctDNA constitutes a potential tool for de novo mutation identification and monitoring of somatic genetic alterations during the course of targeted therapy, and may be employed to overcome the challenges posed by intra-tumor genetic heterogeneity.

Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes only; it can not be used in diagnosis or treatment.

Cite this page: Cotterill SJ. NF1, Cancer Genetics Web: Accessed:

Creative Commons License
This page in Cancer Genetics Web by Simon Cotterill is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Note: content of abstracts copyright of respective publishers - seek permission where appropriate.

 [Home]    Page last revised: 17 August, 2015     Cancer Genetics Web, Established 1999