We recently identified a novel tumor-suppressor gene, DPC4, at chromosome 18q21.1 and found that both alleles of DPC4 were inactivated in nearly one-half of the pancreatic carcinomas. Here, we analyzed 338 tumors, originating from 12 distinct anatomic sites, for alterations in the DPC4 gene. Sixty-four specimens were selected for the presence of the allelic loss of 18q and were further analyzed for DPC4 sequence alterations. An alteration of the DPC4 gene sequence was identified in one of eight breast carcinomas and one of eight ovarian carcinomas. These results indicate that whereas DPC4 inactivation is prevalent in pancreatic carcinoma (48%), it is distinctly uncommon (<10%) in the other tumor types examined. The tissue restriction of alterations in DPC4, as in many other tumor-suppressor genes, emphasizes the complexity of rate-limiting checkpoints in human tumorigenesis.
This work was supported by the SPORE (Specialized Program of Research Excellence) for Gastrointestinal Cancer, NIH Grant CA62924. S. E. K. is a McDonnell Foundation Scholar.