Multiple osteochondromas (MO) is a hereditary skeletal disorder characterized by the presence of cartilage capped bony outgrowths at bone surface. Causative mutations in EXT1 or EXT2 genes have been described in 85-90 % of MO cases. However, in about 10-15 % of the MO cases, genomic alterations can not be detected, implying the potential role of other alterations. We have designed a custom-made Agilent oligonucleotide-based microarray, containing 44,000 probes, with tiling coverage of EXT1/2 genes and addition of 68 genes involved in heparan sulfate biosynthesis and other related pathways. Out of the 17 patient samples with previously undetected mutations, a low level of deletion of the EXT1 gene in about 10-15% of the blood cells was detected in two patients and mosaic deletion of the EXT2 was detected in one patient. Here we show that for the first time somatic mosaicism with large genomic deletions as the underlying mechanism in MO formation was identified. We propose that the existence of mosaic mutations and not alterations of other heparan sulfate biosynthesis related genes play a significant role in the development of MO in patients who are tested negative for mutations in Exostosins.
© 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.