High prevalence of TERT aberrations in myxoid liposarcoma: TERT reactivation may play a crucial role in tumorigenesis

Cancer Sci. 2022 Mar;113(3):1078-1089. doi: 10.1111/cas.15256. Epub 2022 Jan 11.


Myxoid liposarcoma (MLPS) is genetically characterized by FUS-DDIT3 or EWSR1-DDIT3 gene fusion and the high frequency of hotspot mutations (C228T or C250T) in the promoter region of telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) that encodes the TERT protein. The latter leads to telomerase reactivation, a mechanism of telomere maintenance. Although the TERT promoter hotspot mutation is a poor prognostic factor in various tumors, its effect on MLPS has not been reported in detail. In the present study, we examined the clinicopathological characteristics, prognosis, and telomere maintenance mechanisms in 83 primary tumor samples of MLPS, which were resected surgically at the Cancer Institute Hospital, Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research, Tokyo, Japan, from 2008 to 2020. TERT promoter hotspot mutations were observed in 77% (63/82) cases, and alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) was absent in all cases. Among the cases without TERT promoter hotspot mutations, TERT rearrangements, and minor point mutations in the TERT promoter region were found in 3 and 2 cases, respectively. TERT mRNA expression was observed consistently even in patients for whom no genomic TERT aberrations were detected, and the presence of TERT promoter hotspot mutation did not correlate significantly with either overall and metastasis-free survival (P = .56, P = .83, respectively) or clinicopathological features. Therefore, patients with MLPS characteristically shows TERT expression and a high prevalence of TERT aberrations. Our findings suggest that TERT aberration is not prognostic factor, but might occur at an early stage and play a key role in tumorigenesis.

Keywords: TERT; TERT promoter; myxoid liposarcoma; telomerase; telomere.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinogenesis / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liposarcoma, Myxoid / genetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Prognosis
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Telomerase / genetics*
  • Telomere Homeostasis / genetics


  • RNA, Messenger
  • TERT protein, human
  • Telomerase