Research ArticleCancer

Identification of a Disease-Defining Gene Fusion in Epithelioid Hemangioendothelioma

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Translational Medicine  31 Aug 2011:
Vol. 3, Issue 98, pp. 98ra82
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3002409

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Integrating transcriptomic sequencing with conventional cytogenetics, we identified WWTR1 (WW domain–containing transcription regulator 1) (3q25) and CAMTA1 (calmodulin-binding transcription activator 1) (1p36) as the two genes involved in the t(1;3)(p36;q25) chromosomal translocation that is characteristic of epithelioid hemangioendothelioma (EHE), a vascular sarcoma. This WWTR1/CAMTA1 gene fusion is under the transcriptional control of the WWTR1 promoter and encodes a putative chimeric transcription factor that joins the amino terminus of WWTR1, a protein that is highly expressed in endothelial cells, in-frame to the carboxyl terminus of CAMTA1, a protein that is normally expressed only in brain. Thus, CAMTA1 expression is activated inappropriately through a promoter-switch mechanism. The gene fusion is present in virtually all EHEs tested but is absent from all other vascular neoplasms, demonstrating it to be a disease-defining genetic alteration. A sensitive and specific break-apart fluorescence in situ hybridization assay was also developed to detect the translocation and will assist in the evaluation of this diagnostically challenging neoplasm. The chimeric WWTR1/CAMTA1 transcription factor may represent a therapeutic target for EHE and offers the opportunity to shed light on the functions of two poorly characterized proteins.


  • Citation: M. R. Tanas, A. Sboner, A. M. Oliveira, M. R. Erickson-Johnson, J. Hespelt, P. J. Hanwright, J. Flanagan, Y. Luo, K. Fenwick, R. Natrajan, C. Mitsopoulos, M. Zvelebil, B. L. Hoch, S. W. Weiss, M. Debiec-Rychter, R. Sciot, R. B. West, A. J. Lazar, A. Ashworth, J. S. Reis-Filho, C. J. Lord, M. B. Gerstein, M. A. Rubin, B. P. Rubin, Identification of a Disease-Defining Gene Fusion in Epithelioid Hemangioendothelioma. Sci. Transl. Med. 3, 98ra82 (2011).

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Translational Medicine