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Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST) are a type of soft tissue sarcoma that can be associated with germline mutations in Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) or may occur sporadically. Although the etiology of MPNST is poorly understood, it is clear that a loss of function of the NF1 gene, encoding a Ras-GAP, is an important factor in the tumorigenesis of the inherited form of MPNST. Tumor latency in NF1 patients suggests that additional mutational events are probably required for malignancy. In order to define oncogene mutations associated with 5 MPNST cell lines, we assayed the 238 most frequent mutations in 19 commonly activated oncogenes using mass spectroscopy-based analysis. All 238 mutation sites in the assayed oncogenes were determined to harbor only wild-type sequences. These data suggest that hyperactive Ras resulting from the loss function of neurofibromin may be sufficient to set up the direction of malignant transformation of Schwann cells to MPNST.
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