Interpretation of results in an isolated case of bilateral retinoblastoma
*level of detected mosaicism may vary depending on technology (ie deep sequencing may detect lower levels of mosaicism)
Retinoblastoma is the childhood retinal cancer that defined tumour-suppressor genes. Previous work shows that mutation of both alleles of the RB1 retinoblastoma suppressor gene initiates disease. We aimed to characterise non-familial retinoblastoma tumours with no detectable RB1 mutations.
Of 1068 unilateral non-familial retinoblastoma tumours, we compared those with no evidence of RB1 mutations(RB1(+/+)) with tumours carrying a mutation in both alleles (RB1(-/-)). We analysed genomic copy number, RB1 gene expression and protein function, retinal gene expression, histological features, and clinical data.
No RB1 mutations (RB1(+/+)) were reported in 29 (2·7%) of 1068 unilateral retinoblastoma tumours. 15 of the 29 RB1(+/+) tumours had high-level MYCN oncogene amplification (28-121 copies; RB1(+/+)MYCN(A)), whereas none of 93 RB1(-/-) primary tumours tested showed MYCN amplification (p<0·0001). RB1(+/+)MYCN(A) tumours expressed functional RB1 protein, had fewer overall genomic copy-number changes in genes characteristic of retinoblastoma than did RB1(-/-) tumours, and showed distinct aggressive histological features. MYCN amplification was the sole copy-number change in one RB1(+/+)MYCN(A) retinoblastoma. One additional MYCN(A) tumour was discovered after the initial frequencies were determined, and this is included in further analyses. Median age at diagnosis of the 17 children with RB1(+/+)MYCN(A) tumours was 4·5 months (IQR 3·5-10), compared with 24 months (15-37) for 79 children with non-familial unilateral RB1(-/-) retinoblastoma.
Retinoblastoma is a childhood eye malignancy that can lead to the loss of vision, eye(s), and sometimes life. The tumors are initiated by inactivating mutations in both alleles of the tumor-suppressor gene, RB1, or, rarely, by MYCN amplification. Timely identification of a germline RB1 mutation in blood samples or either somatic RB1 mutation or MYCN amplification in tumors is important for effective care and management of retinoblastoma patients and their families. However, current procedures to thoroughly test RB1 mutations are complicated and lengthy. Herein, we report a next-generation sequencing-based method capable of detecting point mutations, small indels, and large deletions or duplications across the entire RB1 gene and amplification of MYCN gene on a single platform. From DNA extraction to clinical interpretation requires only 3 days, enabling early molecular diagnosis of retinoblastoma and optimal treatment outcomes. This method can also detect low-level mosaic mutations in blood samples that can be missed by routine Sanger sequencing. In addition, it can differentiate between RB1 mutation- and MYCN amplification-driven retinoblastomas. This rapid, comprehensive, and sensitive method for detecting RB1 mutations and MYCN amplification can readily identify RB1 mutation carriers and thus improve the management and genetic counseling for retinoblastoma patients and their families.
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12 Dec 2019