Author(s): Soini Y
Angiosarcomas of the liver are rare, malignant cancers composed of neoplastic blood vessels. Human hapatic angiosarcomas have been associated with liver cirrhosis or exposure to vinyl chloride, Thorotrast or arsenic. A recent analysis of six hepatic angiosarcomas associated with vinal chloride exposure found three mutations and all were A:T --> T:A transversions, which are otherwise uncommon in human cancers. To test the specificity of this mutation spectrum, we analyzed 21 hepatic angiosarcomas not associated with vinyl chloride exposure. Four cases were exposed to Thorotrast, none had a history of arsenic exposure and the rest were sporadic. Exons 5-8 of the p53 gene were amplified by polymerase chain reaction, and the products were sequenced directly. Two G:C --> A:T transitions were found in two tumors: TGCstop in codon 136. Neither mutation was associated with Thorotrast exposure. These data indicate that p53 mutations are uncommon in sporadic hepatic angiosarcomas (2/21, 9%), and the mutational profile is consistent with endogenous mechanisms. Both features support the evidence linking vinyl chloride exposure to hepatic angiosarcomas containing an increased frequency of p53 mutations with a mutational spectrum (i.e. A:T --> T:A transversions) characteristic of chloroethylene oxide, a carcinogenic metabolite of vinyl chloride.