Context: Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas have a highly diverse genetic background, with a third of the cases carrying a germline mutation in 1 of 14 identified genes.
Objective: This study aimed to evaluate next-generation sequencing for more efficient genetic testing of pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma and to establish germline and somatic mutation frequencies for all known susceptibility genes.
Design: A targeted next-generation sequencing approach on an Illumina MiSeq instrument was used for a mutation analysis in 86 unselected pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma tumor samples. The study included the genes EGLN1, EPAS1, KIF1Bβ, MAX, MEN1, NF1, RET, SDHA, SDHB, SDHC, SDHD, SDHAF2, TMEM127, and VHL. RESULTS were verified in tumor and constitutional DNA with Sanger sequencing.
Results: In all cases with clinical syndromes or known germline mutations, a mutation was detected in the expected gene. Among 68 nonfamilial tumors, 32 mutations were identified in 28 of the samples (41%), including germline mutations in EGLN1, KIF1Bβ, SDHA, SDHB, and TMEM127 and somatic mutations in EPAS1, KIF1Bβ, MAX, NF1, RET, and VHL, including one double monoallelic EPAS1 mutation.
Conclusions: Targeted next-generation sequencing proved to be fast and cost effective for the genetic analysis of pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma. More than half of the tumors harbored mutations in the investigated genes. Notably, 7% of the apparently sporadic cases carried germline mutations, highlighting the importance of comprehensive genetic testing. KIF1Bβ, which previously has not been investigated in a large cohort, appears to be an equally important tumor suppressor as MAX and TMEM127 and could be considered for genetic testing of these patients.