Genetic analysis of sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma discovers recurrent SWI/SNF alterations and a novel PGAP3-SRPK1 fusion gene

Molly E. Heft Neal, Andrew C. Birkeland, Apurva D. Bhangale, Jingyi Zhai, Aditi Kulkarni, Susan K. Foltin, Brittany M. Jewell, Megan L. Ludwig, Lisa Pinatti, Hui Jiang, Jonathan B. McHugh, Lawence Marentette, Erin L. McKean, J. Chad Brenner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Sinonasal Undifferentiated Carcinoma (SNUC) is a rare and aggressive skull base tumor with poor survival and limited treatment options. To date, targeted sequencing studies have identified IDH2 and SMARCB1 as potential driver alterations, but the molecular alterations found in SMARCB1 wild type tumors are unknown. Methods: We evaluated survival outcomes in a cohort of 46 SNUC patients treated at an NCI designated cancer center and identify clinical and disease variables associated with survival on Kaplan-Meier and Cox multivariate survival analysis. We performed exome sequencing to characterize a series of SNUC tumors (n = 5) and cell line (MDA8788–6) to identify high confidence mutations, copy number alterations, microsatellite instability, and fusions. Knockdown studies using siRNA were utilized for validation of a novel PGAP3-SRPK1 gene fusion. Results: Overall survival analysis revealed no significant difference in outcomes between patients treated with surgery +/− CRT and CRT alone. Tobacco use was the only significant predictor of survival. We also confirmed previously published findings on IDH and SMARC family mutations and identified novel recurrent aberrations in the JAK/STAT and PI3K pathways. We also validated a novel PGAP3-SRPK1 gene fusion in the SNUC cell line, and show that knockdown of the fusion is negatively associated with EGFR, E2F and MYC signaling. Conclusion: Collectively, these data demonstrate recurrent alterations in the SWI/SNF family as well as IDH, JAK/STAT, and PI3K pathways and discover a novel fusion gene (PGAP3-SRPK1). These data aim to improve understanding of possible driver mutations and guide future therapeutic strategies for this disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number636
JournalBMC Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • SNUC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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