Mutation signature of adenoid cystic carcinoma: evidence for transcriptional and epigenetic reprogramming

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Abstract

Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC), a relatively rare malignancy usually of salivary gland origin, has a signature v-myb avian myeloblastosis viral oncogene homolog–nuclear factor I/B (MYB-NFIB) gene fusion that activates MYB transcriptional regulatory activity. A new study in this issue by Stephens et al. is a comprehensive genomic mutation profiling analysis of this neoplasm and documents a common theme of alteration in chromatin regulatory genes. Also, mutations in SPEN (split ends, homolog of Drosophila), which encodes an RNA-binding coregulatory protein, suggest that other changes in transcriptional regulation may involve the NOTCH, FGFR, or other signaling pathways in which SPEN participates. Since there is a low prevalence of mutations in common oncogenes and tumor-suppressor genes, it is likely that alterations primarily in specific transcriptional regulatory genes, augmented by changes in chromatin structure, drive the neoplastic process in ACC.

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