The long arm of chromosome 10 is frequently affected by allelic loss in prostate cancer. PTEN/MMAC1, a candidate tumor suppressor gene located at 10q23.3, a region commonly deleted in prostate cancer, was recently identified and found to be deleted or mutated in cancer cell lines derived from a variety of human tissues including prostate. To examine the role of PTEN/MMAC1 in the progression of prostate cancer, we screened a unique set of 50 metastatic prostate cancer tissues from 19 cancer-death patients for alterations in the PTEN/MMAC1 gene, using single-strand conformational polymorphism analysis and direct sequencing to identify sequence changes and microsatellite analysis to examine allelic loss in the vicinity of PTEN/MMAC1. Overall, gene alterations (deletions or point mutations) were observed in at least 1 metastatic site in 12 of the 19 patients studied. Two cases had homozygous deletions that were confirmed by fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis. Four patients harbored point mutations, with one mutation being found in all four tumors (a primary lesion and three different metastases) from the same patient. The remaining three mutations were detected in only one of multiple metastases. Loss of heterozygosity was found in 10 of 18 informative cases, with 1 case showing a unique pattern of microsatellite instability in each of six different metastases examined. Loss of the same allele was found in all metastases in a given patient in 9 of 10 cases. These results indicate that PTEN/MMAC1 gene alterations occur frequently in lethal prostate cancer, although a substantial amount of mutational heterogeneity is found among different metastatic sites within the same patient. These latter findings emphasize the potentially complex genetic relationship that can exist between various clonal lineages of prostate cancer cells as they evolve during the metastatic process and suggest a molecular basis for phenotypic heterogeneity of different prostate cancer foci in patients with disseminated disease.


Supported by USPHS Grants CA58236, CA53258, CaPCURE, and American Foundation for Urologic Disease.

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