BRD4 bromodomain gene rearrangement in aggressive carcinoma with translocation t(15;19)

Am J Pathol. 2001 Dec;159(6):1987-92. doi: 10.1016/S0002-9440(10)63049-0.


Translocation t(15;19)(q13;p13.1) defines a lethal midline carcinoma arising adjacent to respiratory tract in young people. To characterize molecular alterations responsible for the distinctly aggressive biological behavior of this cancer, we mapped the chromosome 15 and 19 translocation breakpoints by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and Southern blotting. To evaluate preliminarily the frequency, anatomical distribution, and histological features of t(15;19) cancer, we developed a FISH assay for paraffin sections. Our findings reveal a novel oncogenic mechanism in which the chromosome 19 translocation breakpoint interrupts the coding sequence of a bromodomain gene, BRD4. These studies implicate BRD4 as a potential partner in a t(15;19)-associated fusion oncogene. In addition, we localized the chromosome 15 breakpoint to a 9-kb region in each of two cases, thereby identifying several candidate oncogenes which might represent the BRD4 fusion partner. FISH evaluation of 13 pediatric carcinomas revealed t(15;19) in one of four sinonasal carcinomas, whereas this translocation was not detected in thymic (n = 3), mucoepidermoid (n = 3), laryngeal (n = 2), or nasopharyngeal (n = 1) carcinomas. Our studies shed light on the oncogenic mechanism underlying t(15;19) and provide further evidence that this highly lethal cancer arises from respiratory mucosa.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alternative Splicing
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 15 / genetics*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 19 / genetics*
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Rearrangement / genetics*
  • Genes / genetics
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion / genetics*
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Transcription Factors
  • Translocation, Genetic*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • BRD4 protein, human
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Transcription Factors

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF386649