Cytogenetic and microsatellite alterations in tumors from patients with the syndrome of myxomas, spotty skin pigmentation, and endocrine overactivity (Carney complex)

Constantine A. Stratakis, Robert B. Jenkins, Elon Pras, Constantine S. Mitsiadis, Sandra B. Raff, Paul G. Stalboerger, Constantine Tsigos, J. Aidan Carney, George P. Chrousos

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78 Scopus citations


Carney complex (CC) is a familial multiple neoplasia and lentiginosis syndrome, transmitted in an autosomal dominant manner. It is the only familial form of cardiac and skin myxomas known and includes endocrine neoplasms causing Cushing's syndrome [primary pigmented nodular adrenocortical disease (PPNAD)] and acromegaly (GH-producing adenoma). The molecular defect leading to CC remains unknown, but was recently mapped to chromosome 2p16 by linkage analysis. This region has exhibited cytogenetic aberrations in atrial myxomas from patients with CC and harbors the hMSH2 and hMSH6 genes, which are involved in the preservation of microsatellite length stability of replicating human cells. In the present study, we examined 15 tumor and normal tissue specimens from 13 patients with CC [GH-producing adenoma (n = 1), adrenal tumors (PPNAD; n = 8), thyroid cancer (n = 1), normal adrenal gland (n = 1)] and 4 cultured cell lines [heart myxoma (n = 3) and eyelid myxoma (n = 1)]. Chromosome analysis was obtained by standard cytogenetic techniques. One of the myxoma cell lines and 3 PPNAD specimens contained multiple telomeric associations (tas). The normal adrenocortical tissue from a patient with PPNAD contained no apparent chromosomal anomalies, whereas the neighboring PPNAD tissue demonstrated tas. DNA was extracted from peripheral blood, tumor cell lines, and frozen or paraffin-embedded tissues and subjected to PCR amplification with primers from 64 microsatellite locations covering chromosomes 1 and 3-22 and 14 loci covering chromosome 2. The alterations detected were loss and gain of heterozygosity (LOH and GOH; 49% and 26%, respectively), deletions of both alleles (DEL; 10%), and microsatellite length instability (15%). GOH and LOH were the most frequent changes, with telomeric markers significantly over-represented (P < 0.05). Chromosomes 6, 11, 22, 10, and 19 demonstrated mostly LOH, GOH, or DEL in over 40% of the informative loci tested (73%, 59%, 47%, 46%, and 44%, respectively), whereas markers on chromosome 2 showed only microsatellite length instability (10%). The degree of genomic instability and its type were independent of tumor type (P > 0.1). We conclude that tumors and tumor cell lines from patients with CC demonstrate significant genomic, but not microsatellite length, instability. Thus, the CC gene(s) on chromosome 2p16 is different from the hMSH2 and hMSH6 genes and has dominant, rather than recessive, tumorigenic function. This gene(s) appears to be involved in the regulation of genomic stability of dividing cells, in particular the structure of telomeres in replicating chromosomes and/or the function of the mitotic apparatus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3607-3614
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 21 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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