Mutations of the DPC4/Smad4 gene in neuroendocrine pancreatic tumors

Oncogene. 1999 Apr 8;18(14):2367-71. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1202585.


Tumors of the endocrine pancreas are extremely rare, and molecular mechanisms leading to their development are not well understood. A candidate tumor suppressor gene, DPC4, located at 18q21, has recently been shown to be inactivated in half of pancreatic adenocarcinoma xenografts. The close anatomical relationship of the exocrine and endocrine pancreas prompted us to determine the role of DPC4 in the tumorigenesis of 25 pancreatic islet cell tumors (11 insulinomas, nine non-functioning endocrine carcinomas, three gastrinomas, two vipomas). A mutation screening of the highly conserved COOH-terminal domain of DPC4 (exons 8-11) was performed by single-strand conformational variant (SSCP) analysis and a PCR-based deletion assay. Five of nine (55%) non-functioning endocrine pancreatic carcinomas revealed either point mutations, small intragenic deletions or homozygous deletion of DPC4 sequences compared to none of the insulinomas, gastrinomas or vipomas. These results suggest that DPC4 is an important target gene promoting tumorigenesis of non-functioning neuroendocrine pancreatic carcinomas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma, Islet Cell / genetics*
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Gastrinoma / genetics
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor*
  • Humans
  • Insulinoma / genetics
  • Loss of Heterozygosity
  • Mutation*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Point Mutation
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Single-Stranded Conformational
  • Sequence Deletion
  • Smad4 Protein
  • Trans-Activators / genetics*
  • Vipoma / genetics


  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • SMAD4 protein, human
  • Smad4 Protein
  • Trans-Activators