Research Papers:

Novel SOX17 frameshift mutations in endometrial cancer are functionally distinct from recurrent missense mutations

Christopher J. Walker, Matthew J. O’Hern, Vanida A. Serna, Takeshi Kurita, Mario A. Miranda, Caroline E. Sapp, David G. Mutch, David E. Cohn and Paul J. Goodfellow _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:68758-68768. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.20213

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Christopher J. Walker1, Matthew J. O’Hern1, Vanida A. Serna2, Takeshi Kurita2, Mario A. Miranda1, Caroline E. Sapp1, David G. Mutch3, David E. Cohn1 and Paul J. Goodfellow1

1James Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA

2James Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA

3Siteman Cancer Center and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA

Correspondence to:

Paul J. Goodfellow, email: [email protected]

Keywords: transcription factor, endometrial cancer, SOX gene, SRY-box, SOX17

Received: December 14, 2016    Accepted: May 31, 2017    Published: August 12, 2017


Extensive genomic profiling for endometrioid endometrial carcinoma (EEC) has pointed to genes and pathways important in uterine development as critical mediators of endometrial tumorigenesis. SOX17 is a developmental transcription factor necessary for proper endoderm formation that has been implicated as a tumor suppressor and shown to modulate WNT signaling. SOX17 mutation analysis in 539 primary EECs revealed frequent missense and frameshift mutations with an overall 11.5% mutation rate. More than half the mutations identified were frameshifts (32 of 62), and the hotspot missense changes, p.Ala96Gly and p.Ser403Ile, were seen in 14 tumors. None of the cases with a mutation had a second SOX17 mutation or evidence of allelic loss. Immunofluorescence microscopy performed on primary samples showed that there were no changes in SOX17 protein expression associated with mutation. Low/absent SOX17 staining was significantly associated with advanced stage, high tumor grade and reduced recurrence-free survival. Functional assessment of the two hotspot missense mutations and three representative frameshift mutations showed that SOX17-A96G and SOX17-S403I have transcriptional activities similar to SOX17 wild-type (WT), whereas none of the frameshift mutant proteins showed transcriptional activity. Forced expression of SOX17-WT, -A96G or -S403I in EC cell lines moderately increased β-catenin mediated transcription, which contrasts with previous data showing SOX17 is an inhibitor of TCF/β-catenin signaling. The proliferation of EC cell lines was expectedly reduced by transfection with SOX17-WT, and further reduced by SOX17-A96G and SOX17-S403I. These data implicate SOX17 mutation as a selected event in EEC, with clear differences between the missense and frameshift mutations.

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