Hotspot mutations in polyomavirus positive and negative Merkel cell carcinomas

Cancer Genet. 2016 Jan-Feb;209(1-2):30-5. doi: 10.1016/j.cancergen.2015.11.006. Epub 2015 Dec 4.


Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV) infection underlies most Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), a primary neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin. While previous research has focused on MCV-positive MCC tumors, less is known about the oncogenesis in MCV-negative tumors. In this study, we analyzed mutational status of 27 MCC tumors with known MCV status for hotspot regions of 50 cancer-related genes by targeted next-generation sequencing using the Ion AmpliSeq Cancer Hotspot Panel. In addition to previously reported TP53, KIT, and PIK3CA gene mutations, we found somatic mutations in the tyrosine kinase domain of the EGFR gene in a small proportion of the cells in six tumor tissues. RB1 mutations were seen only in virus negative tumors. Hotspot mutations were more frequent in MCV-negative tumors, although the difference was not statistically significant. No clear hotspot mutation profile was observed. Novel RB1 mutations were detected only in MCV-negative tumors.

Keywords: Merkel cell carcinoma; mutations; next-generation sequencing.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Merkel Cell / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Merkel Cell / virology*
  • Female
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Merkel cell polyomavirus / isolation & purification*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Polyomavirus Infections / genetics*
  • Polyomavirus Infections / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Skin Neoplasms / virology*
  • Tumor Virus Infections / genetics*
  • Tumor Virus Infections / pathology