Transgenic mice overexpressing neuregulin-1 model neurofibroma-malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor progression and implicate specific chromosomal copy number variations in tumorigenesis.

Academic Article


  • Patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) develop benign plexiform neurofibromas that frequently progress to become malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs). A genetically engineered mouse model that accurately models plexiform neurofibroma-MPNST progression in humans would facilitate identification of somatic mutations driving this process. We previously reported that transgenic mice overexpressing the growth factor neuregulin-1 in Schwann cells (P(0)-GGFβ3 mice) develop MPNSTs. To determine whether P(0)-GGFβ3 mice accurately model human neurofibroma-MPNST progression, cohorts of these animals were monitored through death and were necropsied; 94% developed multiple neurofibromas, with 70% carrying smaller numbers of MPNSTs. Nascent MPNSTs were identified within neurofibromas, suggesting that these sarcomas arise from neurofibromas. Although neurofibromin expression was maintained, P(0)-GGFβ3 MPNSTs exhibited Ras hyperactivation, as in human NF1-associated MPNSTs. P(0)-GGFβ3 MPNSTs also exhibited abnormalities in the p16(INK4A)-cyclin D/CDK4-Rb and p19(ARF)-Mdm-p53 pathways, analogous to their human counterparts. Array comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) demonstrated reproducible chromosomal alterations in P(0)-GGFβ3 MPNST cells (including universal chromosome 11 gains) and focal gains and losses affecting 39 neoplasia-associated genes (including Pten, Tpd52, Myc, Gli1, Xiap, and Bbc3/PUMA). Array comparative genomic hybridization also identified recurrent focal copy number variations affecting genes not previously linked to neurofibroma or MPNST pathogenesis. We conclude that P(0)-GGFβ3 mice represent a robust model of neurofibroma-MPNST progression useful for identifying novel genes driving neurofibroma and MPNST pathogenesis.
  • Published In


  • Animals, Base Pairing, Biomarkers, Tumor, Cell Cycle, Cell Transformation, Neoplastic, Chromosomes, Mammalian, Comparative Genomic Hybridization, DNA Copy Number Variations, Disease Models, Animal, Disease Progression, Humans, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Transgenic, Nerve Sheath Neoplasms, Neuregulin-1, Neurofibroma, Neurofibromin 1, Peripheral Nervous System, Signal Transduction, ras Proteins
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kazmi SJ; Byer SJ; Eckert JM; Turk AN; Huijbregts RPH; Brossier NM; Grizzle WE; Mikhail FM; Roth KA; Carroll SL
  • Start Page

  • 646
  • End Page

  • 667
  • Volume

  • 182
  • Issue

  • 3