Genetic profile of gliosarcomas

Am J Pathol. 2000 Feb;156(2):425-32. doi: 10.1016/S0002-9440(10)64746-3.


There are distinct genetic pathways leading to the glioblastoma, the most malignant astrocytic brain tumor. Primary (de novo) glioblastomas develop in older patients and are characterized by epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor amplification/overexpression, p16 deletion, and PTEN mutations, whereas secondary glioblastomas that progressed from low-grade or anaplastic astrocytoma develop in younger patients and frequently contain p53 mutations. In this study, we assessed the genetic profile of gliosarcoma, a rare glioblastoma variant characterized by a biphasic tissue pattern with alternating areas displaying glial and mesenchymal differentiation. Single-strand conformation polymorphism followed by direct DNA sequencing revealed p53 mutations in five of 19 gliosarcomas (26%) and PTEN mutations in seven cases (37%). Homozygous p16 deletion was detected by differential polymerase chain reaction in seven (37%) gliosarcomas. The overall incidence of alterations in the Rb pathway (p16 deletion, CDK4 amplification, or loss of pRb immunoreactivity) was 53%, and these changes were mutually exclusive. Coamplification of CDK4 and MDM2 was detected in one gliosarcoma. None of the gliosarcomas showed amplification or overexpression of the EGF receptor. Thus gliosarcomas exhibit a genetic profile similar to that of primary (de novo) glioblastomas, except for the absence of EGFR amplification/overexpression. Identical PTEN mutations in the gliomatous and sarcomatous tumor components were found in two cases. Other biopsies contained p16 deletions, an identical p53 mutation, or coamplification of MDM2 and CDK4 in both tumor areas. This strongly supports the concept of a monoclonal origin of gliosarcomas and an evolution of the sarcomatous component due to aberrant mesenchymal differentiation in a highly malignant astrocytic neoplasm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 4
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16 / genetics
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases / genetics
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Amplification
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gene Expression
  • Gliosarcoma / genetics*
  • Gliosarcoma / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Nuclear Proteins*
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-mdm2
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / genetics
  • Retinoblastoma Protein / metabolism
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins*


  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Retinoblastoma Protein
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • MDM2 protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-mdm2
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met
  • CDK4 protein, human
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 4
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • PTEN protein, human