CONTEXT: Childhood adrenocortical tumors (ACT) are rare malignancies, except in southern Brazil, where a higher incidence rate is associated to a high frequency of the founder R337H TP53 mutation. To date, copy number alterations in these tumors have only been analyzed by low-resolution comparative genomic hybridization.
OBJECTIVE: We analyzed an international series of 25 childhood ACT using high-resolution single nucleotide polymorphism arrays to: 1) detect focal copy number alterations highlighting candidate driver genes; and 2) compare genetic alterations between Brazilian patients carrying the R337H TP53 mutation and non-Brazilian patients.
RESULTS: We identified 16 significantly recurrent chromosomal alterations (q-value < 0.05), the most frequent being -4q34, +9q33-q34, +19p, loss of heterozygosity (LOH) of chromosome 17 and 11p15. Focal amplifications and homozygous deletions comprising well-known oncogenes (MYC, MDM2, PDGFRA, KIT, MCL1, BCL2L1) and tumor suppressors (TP53, RB1, RPH3AL) were identified. In addition, eight focal deletions were detected at 4q34, defining a sharp peak region around the noncoding RNA LINC00290 gene. Although non-Brazilian tumors with a mutated TP53 were similar to Brazilian tumors, those with a wild-type TP53 displayed distinct genomic profiles, with significantly fewer rearrangements (P = 0.019). In particular, three alterations (LOH of chromosome 17, +9q33-q34, and -4q34) were significantly more frequent in TP53-mutated samples. Finally, two of four TP53 wild-type tumors displayed as sole rearrangement a copy-neutral LOH of the imprinted region at 11p15, supporting a major role for this region in ACT development.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings highlight potential driver genes and cellular pathways implicated in childhood ACT and demonstrate the existence of different oncogenic routes in this pathology.