Context: The underlying molecular alterations causing sporadic parathyroid adenomas that drive primary hyperparathyroidism have not been thoroughly defined.
Objective: The aim of the study was to investigate the occurrence of somatic mutations driving tumor formation and progression in sporadic parathyroid adenoma using whole-exome sequencing.
Design: Eight matched tumor-constitutional DNA pairs from patients with sporadic parathyroid adenomas underwent whole-exome capture and high-throughput sequencing. Selected genes were analyzed for mutations in an additional 185 parathyroid adenomas.
Results: Four of eight tumors displayed a frame shift deletion or nonsense mutation in MEN1, which was accompanied by loss of heterozygosity of the remaining wild-type allele. No other mutated genes were shared among the eight tumors. One tumor harbored a Y641N mutation of the histone methyltransferase EZH2 gene, previously linked to myeloid and lymphoid malignancy formation. Targeted sequencing in the additional 185 parathyroid adenomas revealed a high rate of MEN1 mutations (35%). Furthermore, this targeted sequencing identified an additional parathyroid adenoma that contained the identical, somatic EZH2 mutation that was found by exome sequencing.
Conclusion: This study confirms the frequent role of the loss of heterozygosity of chromosome 11 and MEN1 gene alterations in sporadic parathyroid adenomas and implicates a previously unassociated methyltransferase gene, EZH2, in endocrine tumorigenesis.