Background: We have previously reported activating mutations of the gene coding for the fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) in invasive cervical carcinoma. To further analyze the role of FGFR3 in cervical tumor progression, we extended our study to screen a total of 75 invasive tumors and 80 cervical intraepithelial neoplasias (40 low-grade and 40 high-grade lesions).
Results: Using single strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) followed by DNA sequencing, we found FGFR3 mutation (S249C in all cases) in 5% of invasive cervical carcinomas and no mutation in intraepithelial lesions. These results suggest that, unlike in bladder carcinoma, FGFR3 mutation does not or rarely occur in non invasive lesions. Compared to patients with wildtype FGFR3 tumor, patients with S249C FGFR3 mutated tumors were older (mean age 64 vs. 49.4 years, P = 0.02), and were more likely to be associated with a non-16/18 HPV type in their tumor. Gene expression analysis demonstrated that FGFR3 mutated tumors were associated with higher FGFR3b mRNA expression levels compared to wildtype FGFR3 tumors. Supervised analysis of Affymetrix expression data identified a significant number of genes specifically differentially expressed in tumors with respect to FGFR3 mutation status.
Conclusion: This study suggest that tumors with FGFR3 mutation appear to have distinctive clinical and biological characteristics that may help in defining a population of patients for FGFR3 mutation screening.