Mutation analysis of multiple pilomatricomas in a patient with myotonic dystrophy type 1 suggests a DM1-associated hypermutation phenotype

PLoS One. 2020 Mar 10;15(3):e0230003. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0230003. eCollection 2020.


Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is an inherited neuromuscular disease which results from an expansion of repetitive DNA elements within the 3' untranslated region of the DMPK gene. Some patients develop multiple pilomatricomas as well as malignant tumors in other tissues. Mutations of the catenin-β gene (CTNNB1) could be demonstrated in most non-syndromic pilomatricomas. In order to gain insight into the molecular mechanisms which might be responsible for the occurrence of multiple pilomatricomas and cancers in patients with DM1, we have sequenced the CTNNB1 gene of four pilomatricomas and of one pilomatrical carcinoma which developed in one patient with molecularly proven DM1 within 4 years. We further analyzed the pilomatrical tumors for microsatellite instability as well as by NGS for mutations in 161 cancer-associated genes. Somatic and independent point-mutations were detected at typical hotspot regions of CTNNB1 (S33C, S33F, G34V, T41I) while one mutation within CTNNB1 represented a duplication mutation (G34dup.). Pilomatricoma samples were analyzed for microsatellite instability and expression of mismatch repair proteins but no mutated microsatellites could be detected and expression of mismatch repair proteins MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, PMS2 was not perturbed. NGS analysis only revealed one heterozygous germline mutation c.8494C>T; p.(Arg2832Cys) within the ataxia telangiectasia mutated gene (ATM) which remained heterozygous in the pilomatrical tumors. The detection of different somatic mutations in different pilomatricomas and in the pilomatrical carcinoma as well as the observation that the patient developed multiple pilomatricomas and one pilomatrical carcinoma over a short time period strongly suggest that the patient displays a hypermutation phenotype. This hypermutability seems to be tissue and gene restricted. Simultaneous transcription of the mutated DMPK gene and the CTNNB1 gene in cycling hair follicles might constitute an explanation for the observed tissue and gene specificity of hypermutability observed in DM1 patients. Elucidation of putative mechanisms responsible for hypermutability in DM1 patients requires further research.

MeSH terms

  • DNA Mutational Analysis*
  • Hair Diseases / complications
  • Hair Diseases / genetics*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Microsatellite Instability
  • Mutation*
  • Myotonic Dystrophy / complications*
  • Phenotype*
  • Pilomatrixoma / complications
  • Pilomatrixoma / genetics*
  • Skin Neoplasms / complications
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics*
  • beta Catenin / genetics


  • CTNNB1 protein, human
  • beta Catenin

Grants and funding

The authors received no specific funding for this work.