Purpose: Retinoblastoma (RB) sets the paradigm for hereditary cancer syndromes, for which medical care can change depending on the results of genetic testing. In this study, we screened constitutional mutations in the RB1 gene via a method combining DNA sequencing and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA), and performed a preliminary exploration of genotype-phenotype correlations.
Methods: The peripheral blood of 85 retinoblastoma probands, including 39 bilateral and 46 unilateral, was collected, and genomic DNA was extracted. DNA sequencing was conducted first. MLPA analysis was applied for patients with bilateral RB with negative sequencing results and unilateral probands whose age at diagnosis was less than 1 year old.
Results: Thirty-four distinct mutations were identified in 40 (47.1%) of the 85 probands (36 bilateral and four unilateral), of which 20% (8/40) was identified by MLPA. The total detection rate in bilateral cases was 92.3% (36/39). Of the total mutations identified, 77.5% (31/40) probands with a mean age of 10.7 months at diagnosis had null mutations, and 22.5% (9/40) with a mean age of 13.5 months at diagnosis had in-frame mutations. Of the 31 probands with null mutations, bilateral RB accounted for 96.8% (30/31). Of the nine probands with in-frame mutations, 66.7% had bilateral RB. There were seven new mutations of RB1 identified in this report, including six null mutations and one missense mutation. Clinical staging of the tumor did not show obvious differences between patients with null mutations and in-frame mutations.
Conclusions: Our results confirm that the type of mutation is related to age of onset and the laterality, but not staging of the retinoblastoma tumor. MLPA is a reliable method for detecting gross deletion or duplication of the RB1 gene. The combination of sequencing and MLPA improves the clinical diagnosis of RB.