Telomerase Activation and ATRX Mutations Are Independent Risk Factors for Metastatic Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma.


INSERM, UMR970, Paris-Cardiovascular Research Center, Equipe Labellisée par la Ligue contre le Cancer, Paris, France. [Email]


Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGLs) are rare neuroendocrine tumors. Whereas most PPGLs are benign, up to 20% may become metastatic with SDHB- and FH-mutated tumors showing the higher risk. We aimed at determining the contribution of immortalization mechanisms to metastatic progression.Experimental Design: Immortalization mechanisms were investigated in 200 tumors. To identify telomerase (+) tumors, we analyzed genomic alterations leading to transcriptional activation of TERT comprising promoter mutations, hypermethylation and gain copy number. To identify tumors that activated the alternative lengthening of telomere (ALT) mechanism, we combined analyses of telomere length by slot blot, telomere heterogeneity by telomere FISH, and ATRX mutations by next-generation sequencing. Univariate/multivariate and metastasis-free survival (MFS) and overall survival (OS) analyses were carried out for assessment of risk factors and clinical outcomes.