Eur J Hum Genet 2018 01 11;26(1):137-142. Epub 2017 Dec 11.
Department of Pediatric Oncology, Hematology and Clinical Immunology, University Children's Hospital, Medical Faculty, Heinrich Heine University, Duesseldorf, Germany.
The sonic hedgehog (SHH) signaling pathway has been shown to play important roles in embryogenesis, cell proliferation as well as in cell differentiation. It is aberrantly activated in various common cancers in adults, but also in pediatric neoplasms, such as rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) and atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors (AT/RTs). Dysregulation and germline mutation in PATCHED1 (PTCH1), a receptor for SHH, is responsible for the Gorlin Syndrome, a familial cancer predisposing syndrome including RMS. Here, we report a newborn diagnosed with congenital embryonal RMS. Whole-exome sequencing (WES) identified the presence of two heterozygous germline mutations in two target genes of the SHH signaling pathway. The PTCH1 mutation p.(Gly38Glu) is inherited from the mother, whereas the PTCH2 p.(His622Tyr) mutation is transmitted from the father. Quantitative RT-PCR expression analysis of GLI and SMO, key players of the SHH pathway, showed significantly increase in the tumor tissue of the patient and also enrichment in the germline sample in comparison to the parents indicating activation of the SHH pathway in the patient. These findings demonstrate that SHH pathway activity seems to play a role in eRMS as evidenced by high expression levels of GLI1 RNA transcripts. We speculate that PTCH2 modulates tumorigenesis linked to the PTCH1 mutation and is likely associated with the congenital onset of the RMS observed in our patient.