Thymomas are rare mediastinal tumors that are difficult to treat and pose a major public health concern. Identifying mutations in target genes is vital for the development of novel therapeutic strategies. Type A thymomas possess a missense mutation in GTF2I (chromosome 7 c.74146970T>A) with high frequency. However, the molecular pathways underlying the tumorigenesis of other thymomas remain to be elucidated. We aimed to detect this missense mutation in GTF2I in other thymoma subtypes (types B). This study involved 22 patients who underwent surgery for thymomas between January 2014 and August 2019. We isolated tumor cells from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues from the primary lesions using laser-capture microdissection. Subsequently, we performed targeted sequencing to detect mutant GTF2I coupled with molecular barcoding. We used PyClone analysis to determine the fraction of tumor cells harboring mutant GTF2I. We detected the missense mutation (chromosome 7 c.74146970T>A) in GTF2I in 14 thymomas among the 22 samples (64%). This mutation was harbored in many type B thymomas as well as type A and AB thymomas. The allele fraction for the tumors containing the mutations was variable, primarily owing to the coexistence of normal lymphocytes in the tumors, especially in type B thymomas. PyClone analysis revealed a high cellular prevalence of mutant GTF2I in tumor cells. Mutant GTF2I was not detected in other carcinomas (lung, gastric, colorectal, or hepatocellular carcinoma) or lymphomas. In conclusion, the majority of thymomas harbor mutations in GTF2I that can be potentially used as a novel therapeutic target in patients with thymomas.
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