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Copy number aberrations of BCL2 and CDKN2A/B identified by array-CGH in thymic epithelial tumors

Cell Death and Disease
Nature Publishing Group
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1038/cddis.2012.92
  • Original Article
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Medicine


The molecular pathology of thymic epithelial tumors (TETs) is largely unknown. Using array comparative genomic hybridization (CGH), we evaluated 59 TETs and identified recurrent patterns of copy number (CN) aberrations in different histotypes. GISTIC algorithm revealed the presence of 126 significant peaks of CN aberration, which included 13 cancer-related genes. Among these peaks, CN gain of BCL2 and CN loss of CDKN2A/B were the only genes in the respective regions of CN aberration and were associated with poor outcome. TET cell lines were sensitive to siRNA knockdown of the anti-apoptotic molecules BCL2 and MCL1. Gx15-070, a pan-BCL2 inhibitor, induced autophagy-dependent necroptosis in TET cells via a mechanism involving mTOR pathways, and inhibited TET xenograft growth. ABT263, an inhibitor of BCL2/BCL-XL/BCL-W, reduced proliferation in TET cells when administered in combination with sorafenib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor able to downregulate MCL1. Immunohistochemistry on 132 TETs demonstrated that CN loss of CDKN2A correlated with lack of expression of its related protein p16INK4 and identified tumors with poor prognosis. The molecular markers BCL2 and CDKN2A may be of potential value in diagnosis and prognosis of TETs. Our study provides the first preclinical evidence that deregulated anti-apoptotic BCL2 family proteins may represent suitable targets for TET treatment.

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