Somatic VHL gene deletion and point mutation in MEN 2A-associated pheochromocytoma

Christian A. Koch, Steve C. Huang, Zhengping Zhuang, Catherine Stolle, Norio Azumi, George P. Chrousos, Alexander Vortmeyer, Karel Pacak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations


Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN 2) is an inherited cancer syndrome that includes pheochromocytoma. Germline mutations in RET are responsible for MEN 2 but the precise pathogenetic mechanisms of tumorigenesis are unknown. We have recently identified possible mechanisms of tumor formation in patients with MEN 2A-related pheochromocytoma. Two of nine tumors investigated, however, did not reveal either of these mechanisms. In the present study, we therefore searched for other possible mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of MEN 2A-related pheochromocytoma. Hereditary pheochromocytoma also occurs in patients with von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease, a syndrome consisting of tumors caused by inactivation of the VHL tumor suppressor gene. A subset of sporadic pheochromocytomas have somatic mutations in RET or VHL, suggesting that both genes contribute to pheochromocytoma pathogenesis in a subset of tumors. It is unknown, however, whether VHL gene alterations would be associated with tumorigenesis in hereditary, MEN 2-related pheochromocytoma. We therefore investigated four pheochromocytomas from patients with MEN 2A and RET germline mutations for the presence of allelic deletion and/or somatic mutation of the VHL gene. LOH analysis using the polymorphic markers D3S1038 and D3S1110 that map to the VHL gene locus 3p25/26, revealed evidence for somatic VHL gene deletion in all four MEN 2A-related pheochromocytomas. Mutation analysis of the VHL gene showed frameshift mutations in two tumors and a splice acceptor mutation in one tumor. The remaining tumor did show LOH but not mutation of the VHL gene. These results suggest that somatic genetic alterations of the VHL gene may play a role in the tumorigenesis of some MEN 2A-related pheochromocytomas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-482
Number of pages4
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 17 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Deletion
  • MEN 2
  • Pheochromocytoma
  • RET
  • VHL

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research

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  • Cite this

    Koch, C. A., Huang, S. C., Zhuang, Z., Stolle, C., Azumi, N., Chrousos, G. P., Vortmeyer, A., & Pacak, K. (2002). Somatic VHL gene deletion and point mutation in MEN 2A-associated pheochromocytoma. Oncogene, 21(3), 479-482.