Novel SEC61G-EGFR fusion gene in pediatric ependymomas discovered by clonal expansion of stem cells in absence of exogenous mitogens

T. Servidei, D. Meco, V. Muto, A. Bruselles, A. Ciolfi, N. Trivieri, M. Lucchini, R. Morosetti, M. Mirabella, M. Martini, M. Caldarelli, A. Lasorella, M. Tartaglia, R. Riccardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The basis for molecular and cellular heterogeneity in ependymomas of the central nervous system is not understood. This study suggests a basis for this phenomenon in the selection for mitogen-independent (MI) stem-like cells with impaired proliferation but increased intracranial tumorigenicity. MI ependymoma cell lines created by selection for EGF/FGF2-independent proliferation exhibited constitutive activation of EGFR, AKT, and STAT3 and sensitization to the antiproliferative effects of EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI). One highly tumorigenic MI line harbored membrane-bound, constitutively active, truncated EGFR. Two EGFR mutants (ΔN566 and ΔN599) were identified as products of intrachromosomal rearrangements fusing the 30 coding portion of the EGFR gene to the 50-UTR of the SEC61G, yielding products lacking the entire extracellular ligand-binding domain of the receptor while retaining the transmembrane and tyrosine kinase domains. EGFR TKI efficiently targeted ΔN566/ΔN599-mutant-mediated signaling and prolonged the survival of mice bearing intracranial xenografts of MI cells harboring these mutations. RT-PCR sequencing of 16 childhood ependymoma samples identified SEC61G-EGFR chimeric mRNAs in one infratentorial ependymoma WHO III, arguing that this fusion occurs in a small proportion of these tumors. Our findings demonstrate how in vitro culture selections applied to genetically heterogeneous tumors can help identify focal mutations that are potentially pharmaceutically actionable in rare cancers. © 2017 American Association for Cancer Research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5860-5872
Number of pages13
JournalCancer Research
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • 6 [4 (4 ethyl 1 piperazinylmethyl)phenyl] 4 (alpha methylbenzylamino) 7h pyrrolo[2,3 d]pyrimidine
  • CD133 antigen
  • epidermal growth factor receptor
  • gefitinib
  • messenger RNA
  • nestin
  • oligodendrocyte transcription factor 2
  • protein kinase B
  • STAT3 protein
  • transcription factor Sox2
  • hybrid protein
  • mitogenic agent
  • protein kinase inhibitor
  • SEC61G protein, human
  • translocon
  • animal experiment
  • animal model
  • animal tissue
  • antiproliferative activity
  • Article
  • carcinogenesis
  • cell proliferation
  • child
  • chromosome rearrangement
  • clinical article
  • controlled study
  • ependymoma
  • ependymoma cell line
  • fusion gene
  • gene mutation
  • human
  • human cell
  • human tissue
  • male
  • mouse
  • nonhuman
  • priority journal
  • reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction
  • SEC61G EGFR fusion gene
  • stem cell
  • tumor engraftment
  • tumor xenograft
  • amino acid sequence
  • animal
  • antagonists and inhibitors
  • cell clone
  • drug effects
  • gene expression regulation
  • genetics
  • Kaplan Meier method
  • metabolism
  • mutation
  • nude mouse
  • pathology
  • tumor cell line
  • xenograft
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Child
  • Clone Cells
  • Ependymoma
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Mice, Nude
  • Mitogens
  • Mutation
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Receptor, Epidermal Growth Factor
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • SEC Translocation Channels
  • Stem Cells
  • Transplantation, Heterologous


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