BACKGROUND: Nonfunctioning pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NFPanNETs) may be sporadic or inherited because of germline mutations associated with von Hippel-Lindau disease (VHL) or multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1). The clinical behavior of NFPanNETs is difficult to predict, even in tumors of the same stage and grade. The authors analyzed genotype-specific patterns of transcriptional messenger RNA (mRNA) levels of NFPanNETs to understand the molecular features that determine PanNET phenotype. METHODS: Thirty-two samples were included for genome-wide mRNA gene expression analysis (9 VHL-associated, 10 MEN1-associated, and 9 sporadic NFPanNETs and 4 purified normal islet cell [NIC] samples). Validation of genes was performed by real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis and immunohistochemistry. Gene expression profiles were analyzed by tumor genotype, and pathway analysis was curated. RESULTS: Consensus clustering of mRNA expression revealed separate clustering of NICs, VHL-associated NFPanNETs, and MEN1-associated NFPanNETs; whereas some sporadic tumors clustered with MEN1. Four of 5 MEN1-like sporadic PanNET subtypes had loss of heterozygosity at the MEN1 gene locus. Pathway analysis demonstrated subtype-specific pathway activation, comprising angiogenesis and immune response in VHL; neuronal development in MEN1; protein ubiquitination in the new MEN1/sporadic subtype; and cytokinesis and cilium/microtubule development in sporadic NFPanNETs. Among many genes, platelet-derived growth factor receptor β (PDGFRB), lymphoid enhancer-binding factor-1 (Lef-1), cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4), and CDK6 were upregulated in VHL or MEN1 NFPanNETs, providing potential subtype-specific treatment targets. CONCLUSIONS: Distinct mRNA expression patterns were identified in sporadic-associated, VHL-associated, and MEN1-associated NFPanNETs. The current results uncover new pathways involved in NFPanNETs that are subtype-specific and provide potential new diagnostic or therapeutic targets based on tumor subtype. Cancer 2018;124:636-47.
- multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1)
- von Hippel-Lindau syndrome (VHL)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research