BACKGROUND: Frequent somatic mutations have recently been identified in the ras-like domain of the heterotrimeric G protein alpha-subunit (GNAQ) in blue naevi 83%, malignant blue naevi (50%) and ocular melanoma of the uvea (46%). The mutations exclusively affect codon 209 and result in GNAQ constitutive activation which, in turn, acts as a dominant oncogene. METHODOLOGY: To assess if the mutations are present in other tumor types we performed a systematic mutational profile of the GNAQ exon 5 in a panel of 922 neoplasms, including glioblastoma, gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), blue naevi, skin melanoma, bladder, breast, colorectal, lung, ovarian, pancreas, and thyroid carcinomas. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We detected the previously reported mutations in 6/13 (46%) blue naevi. Changes affecting Q209 were not found in any of the other tumors. Our data indicate that the occurrence of GNAQ mutations display a unique pattern being present in a subset of melanocytic tumors but not in malignancies of glial, epithelial and stromal origin analyzed in this study
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