Indexed on: 28 Nov '12Published on: 28 Nov '12Published in: Translational Research, The Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine
A plethora of somatic mutations and germline variations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) have been increasingly reported in numerous cancer entities including osteosarcoma. However, it remains largely unclear whether mtDNA copy number changes occur during the multistep process of osteosarcoma carcinogenesis. For this purpose, we determined quantitative mtDNA levels in 31 primary osteosarcoma specimens and 5 normal bone tissue samples using a real-time polymerase chain reaction assay. Our data showed that the average mtDNA amount was significantly reduced in osteosarcoma tissues compared with normal bone controls. The copy number of mtDNA was statistically associated with tumor metastasis. There was an approximately 2-fold decrease of mtDNA quantity in tumors with metastasis than that in low-grade tumors without metastasis. Furthermore, change in mtDNA content was linked with somatic mutations in the D-loop regulatory region. Tumors carrying somatic D-loop mutations, at the polycytidine stretch between nucleotide positions 303 and 309 or close to the replication origin sites of the heavy strand, had significantly lowered mtDNA levels in comparison with those without mutations. Taken together, these results provide evidence for the first time that reduced mtDNA content may be critically implicated in the development and/or progression of osteosarcoma. Somatic D-loop mutation is likely one key factor among others leading to altered mtDNA amount in osteosarcoma.