RET somatic mutations are underrecognized in Hirschsprung disease

Genet Med. 2018 Jul;20(7):770-777. doi: 10.1038/gim.2017.178. Epub 2017 Oct 26.


Purpose: We aimed to determine the frequency of RET mosaicism in Hirschsprung disease (HSCR), test whether it has been underestimated, and to assess its contribution to HSCR risk.

Methods: Targeted exome sequencing (n = 83) and RET single-gene screening (n = 69) were performed. Amplicon-based deep sequencing was applied on multiple tissue samples. TA cloning and sequencing were conducted for validation.

Results: We identified eight de novo mutations in 152 patients (5.2%), of which six were pathogenic mosaic mutations. Two of these patients were somatic mosaics, with mutations detected in blood, colon, and saliva (mutant allele frequency: 35-44%). In addition, germ-line mosaicism was identified in four clinically unaffected subjects, each with an affected child, in multiple tissues (mutant allele frequency: 1-28%).

Conclusion: Somatic mutations of the RET gene are underrecognized in HSCR. Molecular investigation of the parents of patients with seemingly sporadic mutations is essential to determine recurrence risk in these families.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Germ-Line Mutation
  • Hirschsprung Disease / genetics*
  • Hirschsprung Disease / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mosaicism
  • Mutation
  • Pedigree
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ret / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ret / metabolism
  • Risk Factors
  • Whole Exome Sequencing


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ret
  • RET protein, human