About 90 percent of human pancreatic carcinomas show allelic loss at chromosome 18q. To identify candidate tumor suppressor genes on 18q, a panel of pancreatic carcinomas were analyzed for convergent sites of homozygous deletion. Twenty-five of 84 tumors had homozygous deletions at 18q21.1, a site that excludes DCC (a candidate suppressor gene for colorectal cancer) and includes DPC4, a gene similar in sequence to a Drosophila melanogaster gene (Mad) implicated in a transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β)-like signaling pathway. Potentially inactivating mutations in DPC4 were identified in six of 27 pancreatic carcinomas that did not have homozygous deletions at 18q21.1. These results identify DPC4 as a candidate tumor suppressor gene whose inactivation may play a role in pancreatic and possibly other human cancers.
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