JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Beta-catenin mutations in craniopharyngiomas and pituitary adenomas.

Craniopharyngiomas and pituitary adenomas are both tumors of the hypothalamic and pituitary region, respectively that are frequently associated with endocrine defects either because of direct involvement of hormone producing cells (most pituitary tumors) or because of secondary defects due to disturbance of hypothalamic function (some pituitary tumors and craniopharyngiomas). Some studies suggest that mutant beta-catenin gene cells in craniopharyngiomas and pituitary adenomas contribute to their tumorigenesis. DNA was extracted from 73 cranial tumors and subjected to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with previously described primers encompassing glycogen synthase kinase-3beta phosphorylation sites of the beta-catenin gene. Sequenced PCR products for possible beta-catenin gene mutations showed a total of 7/43 alterations in adamantinomatous craniopharyngioma-derived DNA samples. Two previously described beta-catenin mutations in codon 33 TCT(Ser) > TGT(Cys) and codon 37 TCT(Ser) > TTT(Phe), whereas three novel mutations in codon 41 ACC(Thr) > ATC(Ile), codon 33 TCT(Ser) > TAT(Tyr) and codon 32 GAC(Asp) > AAC(Asn) were observed. None of the 22 pituitary adenomas and the eight papillary craniopharyngiomas analyzed presented any sequence alterations. These findings demonstrate an association between beta-catenin gene alterations and craniopharyngiomas of the adamantinomatous type. Since this gene product is involved with development, these results suggest that beta-catenin mutations may contribute to the initiation and subsequent growth of congenital craniopharyngiomas.

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