Molecular diagnosis of multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) in paraffin-embedded specimens

Paul Komminoth*, Seraina Muletta-Feurer, Parvin Saremaslani, Eva K. Kunz, Xavier Matias-Guiu, Olaf Hiort, Sören Schröder, Walter K.F. Seelentag, Jürgen Roth, Philipp U. Heitz

*Corresponding author for this work
20 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, we summarize our recent findings on rearranged during transfection (RET) mutations in a series of 46 sporadic as well as multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) type 2-associated tumors and present results of our family screening efforts to identify MEN 2 and MEN 1 gene carriers. A nonisotopic polymerase chain reaction-based single-strand conformation polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) analysis and heteroduplex gel electrophoresis method was used to screen DNA extracted from archival specimens of 22 patients with MEN 2-associated and 24 patients with sporadic tumors for mutations in RET exons 10, 11, 13, and 16. Point mutations were identified by nonisotopic cycle sequencing of PCR products using an automated DNA sequencer. We found six different missense germline mutations at cysteine residues encoded by exons 10 and 11 in all patients with MEN 2A or familial medullary thyroid carcinoma (FMTC). The frequency of mutations at codon 634 was higher in patients with MEN 2A than with FMTC and a634 Cys→Arg mutation was associated with parathyroid disease. A germline Met→Thr point mutation at codon 918 of the RET tyrosine kinase domain encoded by exon 16 was identified in all MEN 2B patients. Nonpredicted inheritable medullary thyroid carcinomas (MTCs) were detected in two patients and a mosaic postzygotic mutation was found in one additional patient. Tumor-specific (somatic) Met→Thr point mutations at codon 918 were identified in 5 of 13 sporadic MTCs and 2 of 8 sporadic pheochromocytomas (PCCs). The remaining sporadic tumors lacked mutations in all four RET exons tested. In exon 13, a nucleic acid polymorphism (CTT/CTG; Leu) at codon 769 was identified, which is present in approx 40% of the examined population. Our study demonstrates that the molecular methods used are not only suitable to identify asymptomatic individuals at risk for MEN 2A, FMTC, and MEN 2B, but also to distinguish sporadic from inherited tumors using archival tissue specimens; and that more tumors than clinically expected are inheritable, indicating the need for genetic analysis of all MTC and PCC patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEndocrine Pathology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)267-278
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 11.1995

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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