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Beta-catenin mutations are frequent in calcifying odontogenic cysts, but rare in ameloblastomas

, : Beta-catenin mutations are frequent in calcifying odontogenic cysts, but rare in ameloblastomas. American Journal of Pathology 163(5): 1707-1712

We have reported previously that alterations to beta-catenin occur frequently in adamantinomatous craniopharyngioma. Based on its histological resemblance to some odontogenic tumors, we suspected the presence of common genetic alterations among these tumors. To address this issue, 11 cases of calcifying odontogenic cyst (COC) and 20 cases of ameloblastoma were investigated for the presence of beta-catenin mutations and beta-catenin expression. Ten COCs were successfully analyzed by direct sequencing, and nine of them were found to harbor somatic beta-catenin mutations. Immunohistochemically, all of the COCs showed nuclear and cytoplasmic expression of beta-catenin with a heterogeneous pattern. No beta-catenin mutations were found in ameloblastomas, except for one case of the follicular type. All follicular ameloblastomas exhibited moderate nuclear and cytoplasmic accumulation of beta-catenin, in contrast to the predominantly membranous expression seen in the plexiform type. beta-Catenin mutation is considered to be a characteristic genetic feature of COC, and may play a critical role in its histogenesis. Although ameloblastoma closely resembles COC histologically, the two have genetically distinctive features.


PMID: 14578169

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