Context: Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas are genetically heterogeneous neural crest-derived neoplasms. We recently identified germline mutations of the novel transmembrane-encoding gene FP/TMEM127 in familial and sporadic pheochromocytomas consistent with a tumor suppressor effect. Objectives: To examine the prevalence and spectrum of FP/TMEM127 mutations in pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas and to test the effect of mutations in vitro. Design, Setting, and Participants: We sequenced the FP/TMEM127 gene in 990 individuals with pheochromocytomas and/or paragangliomas, including 898 previously unreported cases without mutations in other susceptibility genes from 8 independent worldwide referral centers between January 2009 and June 2010. A multiplex polymerase chain reaction-based method was developed to screen for large gene deletions in 545 of these samples. Confocal microscopy of 5 transfected mutant proteins was used to determine their subcellular localization. Main Outcome Measures: The frequency and type of FP/TMEM127 mutation or deletion was assessed and correlated with clinical variables; the subcellular localization of 5 overexpressed mutants was compared with wild-type FP/TMEM127 protein. Results: We identified 19 potentially pathogenic FP/TMEM127 germline mutations in 20 independent families, but no large deletions were detected. All mutation carriers had adrenal tumors, including 7 bilateral (P = 2.7 × 10-4) and/or with familial disease (5 of 20 samples; P = .005). The median age at disease onset in the FP/TMEM127 mutation group was similar to that of patients without a mutation (41.5 vs 45 years, respectively; P = .54). The most common presentation was that of a single benign adrenal tumor in patients older than 40 years. Malignancy was seen in 1mutation carrier (5%). Expression of 5 novel FP/TMEM127 mutations in cell lines revealed diffuse localization of the mutant proteins in contrast with the discrete multiorganelle distribution of wild-type TMEM127. Conclusions: Germline mutations of FP/TMEM127 were associated with pheochromocytoma but not paraganglioma and occured in an age group frequently excluded from genetic screening algorithms. Disease-associated mutations disrupt intracellular distribution of the FP/TMEM127 protein.
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