MEK1 mutations, but not ERK2 mutations, occur in melanomas and colon carcinomas, but none in thyroid carcinomas

Cell Cycle. 2009 Jul 1;8(13):2122-4. doi: 10.4161/cc.8.13.8710. Epub 2009 Jul 9.


Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway plays an important role in the pathogenesis of melanoma, colon cancer and thyroid cancer, which commonly harbor RAS and BRAF mutations. However, mutations in exon 2 of MEK1 and exon 7 of ERK2 have not been investigated in these cancers although they are occasionally found in some other cancers or cell lines. In this study, we performed mutational analysis to search for these mutations in 185 samples, including 167 tumor samples and 18 cell lines of melanoma, colon cancer and thyroid cancer. We found one MEK1 mutation in 1 of 37 (3%) melanoma tumor samples and another MEK1 mutation in 1 of 45 (2.2%) colon cancer samples. We did not find any MEK1 mutation in 99 thyroid tumor samples and 12 thyroid cancer cell lines. We also did not find any ERK2 mutation in melanoma, colon cancer and thyroid cancer. We thus report for the first time a low prevalence of MEK1 mutations in melanoma and colon cancer. Both of the two mutants have been demonstrated to be activating in the MAPK signaling pathway and may therefore provide potential target for effective therapy in cases of melanomas and colon cancer harboring these mutations.

Publication types

  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Colonic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Gene Amplification
  • Humans
  • MAP Kinase Kinase 1 / genetics*
  • Melanoma / genetics*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1 / genetics*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / genetics*


  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • MAP Kinase Kinase 1