Gene Summary

Gene:PPP2R1A; protein phosphatase 2 scaffold subunit Aalpha
Aliases: MRD36, PP2AA, PR65A, PP2AAALPHA, PP2A-Aalpha
Summary:This gene encodes a constant regulatory subunit of protein phosphatase 2. Protein phosphatase 2 is one of the four major Ser/Thr phosphatases, and it is implicated in the negative control of cell growth and division. It consists of a common heteromeric core enzyme, which is composed of a catalytic subunit and a constant regulatory subunit, that associates with a variety of regulatory subunits. The constant regulatory subunit A serves as a scaffolding molecule to coordinate the assembly of the catalytic subunit and a variable regulatory B subunit. This gene encodes an alpha isoform of the constant regulatory subunit A. Alternatively spliced transcript variants have been described. [provided by RefSeq, Apr 2010]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:serine/threonine-protein phosphatase 2A 65 kDa regulatory subunit A alpha isoform
Source:NCBIAccessed: 30 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 30 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Endometriosis
  • Chromosome 19
  • PTEN
  • Tissue Array Analysis
  • Clear Cell Adenocarcinoma
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Breast Cancer
  • Protein Phosphatase 2
  • Vulvar Cancer
  • Mutation
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Uterine Cancer
  • Class I Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • p53 Protein
  • Wilms Tumour
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • SMAD4
  • Transcription
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Endometrioid Carcinoma
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Melanoma
  • Risk Assessment
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Young Adult
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Transcription Factors
  • Exome
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins pp60(c-src)
  • src-Family Kinases
  • ras Proteins
  • Endometrial Cancer
  • cdc25 Phosphatases
  • Tumor Suppressor Gene
Tag cloud generated 30 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (8)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: PPP2R1A (cancer-related)

Taylor SE, O'Connor CM, Wang Z, et al.
The Highly Recurrent PP2A Aα-Subunit Mutation P179R Alters Protein Structure and Impairs PP2A Enzyme Function to Promote Endometrial Tumorigenesis.
Cancer Res. 2019; 79(16):4242-4257 [PubMed] Related Publications
Somatic mutation of the protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) Aα-subunit gene

Cuevas D, Valls J, Gatius S, et al.
Targeted sequencing with a customized panel to assess histological typing in endometrial carcinoma.
Virchows Arch. 2019; 474(5):585-598 [PubMed] Related Publications
The two most frequent types of endometrial cancer (EC) are endometrioid (EEC) and serous carcinomas (SC). Differential diagnosis between them is not always easy. A subset of endometrial cancers shows misleading microscopical features, which cause problems in differential diagnosis, and may be a good scenario for next-generation sequencing. Previous studies have assessed the usefulness of targeted sequencing with panels of generic cancer-associated genes in EC histological typing. Based on the analysis of TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas), EEC and SC have different mutational profiles. In this proof of principle study, we have performed targeted sequencing analysis with a customized panel, based on the TCGA mutational profile of EEC and SC, in a series of 24 tumors (16 EEC and 8 SC). Our panel comprised coding and non-coding sequences of the following genes: ABCC9, ARID1A, ARID5B, ATR, BCOR, CCND1, CDH19, CHD4, COL11A1, CSDE1, CSMD3, CTCF, CTNNB1, EP300, ERBB2, FBXW7, FGFR2, FOXA2, KLLN, KMT2B, KRAS, MAP3K4, MKI67, NRAS, PGAP3, PIK3CA, PIK3R1, PPP2R1A, PRPF18, PTEN, RPL22, SCARNA11, SIN3A, SMARCA4, SPOP, TAF1, TP53, TSPYL2, USP36, and WRAP53. Targeted sequencing validation by Sanger sequencing and immunohistochemistry was performed in a group of genes. POLE mutation status was assessed by Sanger sequencing. The most mutated genes were PTEN (93.7%), ARID1A (68.7%), PIK3CA (50%), and KMT2B (43.7%) for EEC, and TP53 (87.5%), PIK3CA (50%), and PPP2R1A (25%) for SC. Our panel allowed correct classification of all tumors in the two categories (EEC, SC). Coexistence of mutations in PTEN, ARID1A, and KMT2B was diagnostic of EEC. On the other hand, absence of PTEN, ARID1A, and KMT2B mutations in the presence of TP53 mutation was diagnostic of SC. This proof of concept study demonstrates the suitability of targeted sequencing with a customized endometrial cancer gene panel as an additional tool for confirming histological typing.

Ren W, Sun Q, Wu PY, et al.
Profiles of genomic alterations in primary esophageal follicular dendritic cell sarcoma: A case report.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2018; 97(48):e13413 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
RATIONALE: Follicular dendritic cell (FDC) sarcoma is a rare tumor with FDC differentiation that typically arises within lymph nodes but can also occur extranodally. To date, the primary esophageal FDC sarcoma has not been reported in the English literature.
PATIENT CONCERNS: We described a 67-year-old female who foremostly presented with dysphagia, and the patient was readmitted due to a dry cough and pain of his right shoulder 2 years after initial treatment.
DIAGNOSES: Primary esophageal FDC sarcoma with the right superior mediastinal lymph node metastasis.
INTERVENTIONS: The esophageal tumor was removed by endoscopic submucosal dissection at the first hospitalization. At the second hospitalization 2 years after the initial visit, the tracheal stent loaded with (125) iodine radioactive seeds was placed. The profiles of genetic variations and immunotherapeutic biomarkers were also explored by next-generation sequencing protocol from the patient's blood, esophageal primary, and mediastinal metastatic tumor samples.
OUTCOMES: The patient's symptom transitorily relieved, but she gave up further treatment and died 2 months after the tracheal stent was placed. As for the genomic alterations, we found 9 gene mutations in all the samples, including checkpoint kinase 2(CHEK2), FAT atypical cadherin 1 (FAT1), tumor protein 53 (TP53), DPYD, ERBB2 interacting protein (ERBB2IP), FBXW7, KMT2D, PPP2R1A, TSC2, whereas amplification of MYC was only in the metastatic example. The analysis of clonal evolution and phylogenetic tree showed the propagation and replay of polyclonal esophageal FDC sarcoma. At the same time, the detection of biomarkers for immunotherapy revealed microsatellite stable and mismatch repair-proficient (pMMR), which predicted a relatively poor anti-programmed death (PD-1)/programmed death ligand (PD-L1) immunotherapy outcome. On the contrary, the tumor mutational burdens were 10 mutations per 1 million bases in both the primary and metastatic tumor sample, which ranked the top 23.3% in solid tumors mutational burdens database of Geneseeq and might be a good predictor of the efficacy of anti-PD-1/PD-L1 immunotherapy.
LESSONS: To the best of our knowledge, this case report announced the first case of extranodal primary esophageal FDC sarcoma in the world, and firstly revealed its unique genetic alterations profiles, which might contribute to further in-depth study of this rare disease.

Li D, Hao X, Song Y
Identification of the Key MicroRNAs and the miRNA-mRNA Regulatory Pathways in Prostate Cancer by Bioinformatics Methods.
Biomed Res Int. 2018; 2018:6204128 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Objective: To identify key microRNAs (miRNAs) and their regulatory networks in prostate cancer.
Methods: Four miRNA and three gene expression microarray datasets were downloaded for analysis from Gene Expression Omnibus database. The differentially expressed miRNA and genes were accessed by a GEO2R. Functional and pathway enrichment analyses were performed using the DAVID program. Protein-protein interaction (PPI) and miRNA-mRNA regulatory networks were constructed using the STRING and Cytoscape tool. Moreover, the results and clinical significance were validated in TCGA data.
Results: We identified 26 significant DEMs, 633 upregulated DEGs, and 261 downregulated DEGs. Functional enrichment analysis indicated that significant DEGs were related to TGF-beta signaling pathway and TNF signaling pathway in PCa. Key DEGs such as HSPA8, PPP2R1A, CTNNB1, ADCY5, ANXA1, and COL9A2 were found as hub genes in PPI networks. TCGA data supported our results and the miRNAs were correlated with clinical stages and overall survival.
Conclusions: We identified 26 miRNAs that may take part in key pathways like TGF-beta and TNF pathways in prostate cancer regulatory networks. MicroRNAs like miR-23b, miR-95, miR-143, and miR-183 can be utilized in assisting the diagnosis and prognosis of prostate cancer as biomarkers. Further experimental studies are required to validate our results.

Zou Y, Zhou JY, Guo JB, et al.
The presence of KRAS, PPP2R1A and ARID1A mutations in 101 Chinese samples with ovarian endometriosis.
Mutat Res. 2018; 809:1-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
Endometriosis is a potential premalignant disorder. The underlying molecular aberrations, however, are not fully understood. A recent exome sequencing study found that 25% (10/39) of deep infiltrating endometriosis harbored cancer driver gene mutations. However, it is unclear whether these mutations also exist in ovarian endometriosis. Here, a total of 101 ovarian endometriosis samples were analyzed for the presence of these gene mutations, including KRAS, PPP2R1A, PIK3CA and ARID1A. In addition, 6 other cancer-associated genes (BRAF, NRAS, HRAS, ERK1, ERK2 and PTEN) were also analyzed. In total, four somatic mutations were identified in three out of 101 ovarian endometriotic lesions (4%, 4/101), including a KRAS p.G12V, a PPP2R1A p.S256F and two ARID1A nonsense mutations (p.Q403* and p.G1926*); while no mutations were identified in the remaining 7 genes (BRAF, NRAS, HRAS, ERK1, ERK2, PTEN and PIK3CA). Note that the KRAS G12V and ARID1A Q403* mutations co-occurred in a 36-year-old sample who had a high serum CA125 (308.4 U/mL) and a late menarche age (18-year-old). Additionally, no mutations in any of the 10 genes were identified in either the healthy eutopic endometrial tissues from 85 control individuals without endometriosis, or in 62 healthy ovarian tissues from ovarian cysts samples (without endometriosis). Our study revealed, for the first time, the presence of classical cancer driver gene mutations in ovarian endometriosis. Furthermore, the co-occurrence of KRAS and ARID1A mutations was identified in a single individual for the first time. The observations of cancer driver gene mutations in our ovarian endometriosis samples, together with several prior observations, further support the notion that endometriosis is a premalignant disorder.

An M, Zhu J, Wu J, et al.
Circulating Microvesicles from Pancreatic Cancer Accelerate the Migration and Proliferation of PANC-1 Cells.
J Proteome Res. 2018; 17(4):1690-1699 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Circulating microvesicles are able to mediate long-distance cell-cell communications. It is essential to understand how microvesicles from pancreatic cancer act on other cells in the body. In this work, serum-derived microvesicles were isolated from 10 patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer and healthy controls. Using Cell Transwell and WST-1 reagents, we found that microvesicles from pancreatic cancer accelerated migration and proliferation of PANC-1 cells. Meanwhile, the proliferation of these cancer-microvesicle-treated cells (CMTCs) was affected less by 10 μM of gemcitabine relative to healthy microvesicle-treated cells (HMTCs). Next, we optimized the filter-aided sample preparation method to increase the recovery of protein samples and then applied it to the quantification of the proteome of CMTCs and HMTCs. The peptides were labeled and analyzed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. In total, 4102 proteins were identified, where 35 proteins were up-regulated with 27 down-regulated in CMTCs. We verified the quantitative results of three key proteins CD44, PPP2R1A, and TP53 by Western blot. The Ingenuity Pathway Analysis revealed pathways that cancer microvesicles might participate in to promote cell migration and proliferation. These findings may provide novel clues of treatment for tumorigenesis and metastasis.

Kauko O, Westermarck J
Non-genomic mechanisms of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) regulation in cancer.
Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2018; 96:157-164 [PubMed] Related Publications
Propagation of transient signals requires coordinated suppression of antagonistic phosphatase activity. Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) is a broad specificity serine/threonine phosphatase that functions as an antagonist of many signaling pathways associated with growth and proliferation, and endogenous inhibitory mechanisms suppress PP2A activity in response to mitogenic stimuli. These inhibitory mechanisms, including expression and activation of endogenous inhibitor proteins and phosphoregulation of PP2A subunits, are also engaged by aberrant constitutive activation of mitogenic pathways in cancer. Inhibition of PP2A activity has been shown to promote malignant transformation and endogenous inhibitory mechanisms of PP2A have been associated with malignant progression and prognosis in a wide range of cancers. Despite existence of recurrent mutations and other genetic and gene regulatory alterationsin PP2A genes, they collectively appear at relatively low frequency, and in only some cancer types. The non-genomic inhibition of PP2A activity by increased expression of endogenous PP2A inhibitor proteins greatly exceeds the frequency of genetic mutations of PP2A genes in human cancers. This feature makes PP2A an untypical tumor suppressor, and may have influenced its recognition as one of the critical human cell transformation mechanisms. We propose that non-genetic inhibition is the dominant mechanism causing loss of PP2A tumor suppressor function in cancer cells, possibly because these mechanisms do not elicit genomic instability associated with genetic loss of function of specific PP2A subunits.

Shibuya Y, Tokunaga H, Saito S, et al.
Identification of somatic genetic alterations in ovarian clear cell carcinoma with next generation sequencing.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2018; 57(2):51-60 [PubMed] Related Publications
Ovarian clear cell carcinoma (OCCC) is the most refractory subtype of ovarian cancer and more prevalent in Japanese than Caucasians (25% and 5% of all ovarian cancer, respectively). The aim of this study is to discover the genomic alterations that may cause OCCC and effective molecular targets for chemotherapy. Paired genomic DNAs of 48 OCCC tissues and corresponding noncancerous tissues were extracted from formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded specimens collected between 2007 and 2015 at Tohoku University Hospital. All specimens underwent exome sequencing and the somatic genetic alterations were identified. We divided the cases into three clusters based on the mutation spectra. Clinical characteristics such as age of onset and endometriosis are similar among the clusters but one cluster shows mutations related to APOBEC activation, indicating its contribution to subset of OCCC cases. There are three hypermutated cases (showing 12-fold or higher somatic mutations than the other 45 cases) and they have germline and somatic mismatch repair gene alterations. The frequently mutated genes are ARID1A (66.7%), PIK3CA (50%), PPP2R1A (18.8%), and KRAS (16.7%). Somatic mutations important for selection of chemotherapeutic agents, such as BRAF, ERBB2, PDGFRB, PGR, and KRAS are found in 27.1% of OCCC cases, indicating clinical importance of exome analysis for OCCC. Our study suggests that the genetic instability caused by either mismatch repair defect or activation of APOBEC play critical roles in OCCC carcinogenesis.

Le Gallo M, Rudd ML, Urick ME, et al.
The FOXA2 transcription factor is frequently somatically mutated in uterine carcinosarcomas and carcinomas.
Cancer. 2018; 124(1):65-73 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Uterine carcinosarcomas (UCSs) are a rare but clinically aggressive form of cancer. They are biphasic tumors consisting of both epithelial and sarcomatous components. The majority of uterine carcinosarcomas are clonal, with the carcinomatous cells undergoing metaplasia to give rise to the sarcomatous component. The objective of the current study was to identify novel somatically mutated genes in UCSs.
METHODS: We whole exome sequenced paired tumor and nontumor DNAs from 14 UCSs and orthogonally validated 464 somatic variants using Sanger sequencing. Fifteen genes that were somatically mutated in at least 2 tumor exomes were Sanger sequenced in another 39 primary UCSs.
RESULTS: Overall, among 53 UCSs in the current study, the most frequently mutated of these 15 genes were tumor protein p53 (TP53) (75.5%), phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate 3-kinase catalytic subunit alpha (PIK3CA) (34.0%), protein phosphatase 2, regulatory subunit A, alpha (PPP2R1A) (18.9%), F-box and WD repeat domain containing 7 (FBXW7) (18.9%), chromodomain helicase DNA binding protein 4 (CHD4) (17.0%), and forkhead box A2 (FOXA2) (15.1%). FOXA2 has not previously been implicated in UCSs and was predominated by frameshift and nonsense mutations. One UCS with a FOXA2 frameshift mutation expressed truncated FOXA2 protein by immunoblotting. Sequencing of FOXA2 in 160 primary endometrial carcinomas revealed somatic mutations in 5.7% of serous, 22.7% of clear cell, 9% of endometrioid, and 11.1% of mixed endometrial carcinomas, the majority of which were frameshift mutations.
CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, the findings of the current study provide compelling genetic evidence that FOXA2 is a pathogenic driver gene in the etiology of primary uterine cancers, including UCSs. Cancer 2018;124:65-73. © 2017 American Cancer Society.

Murakami R, Matsumura N, Brown JB, et al.
Exome Sequencing Landscape Analysis in Ovarian Clear Cell Carcinoma Shed Light on Key Chromosomal Regions and Mutation Gene Networks.
Am J Pathol. 2017; 187(10):2246-2258 [PubMed] Related Publications
Previous studies have reported genome-wide mutation profile analyses in ovarian clear cell carcinomas (OCCCs). This study aims to identify specific novel molecular alterations by combined analyses of somatic mutation and copy number variation. We performed whole exome sequencing of 39 OCCC samples with 16 matching blood tissue samples. Four hundred twenty-six genes had recurrent somatic mutations. Among the 39 samples, ARID1A (62%) and PIK3CA (51%) were frequently mutated, as were genes such as KRAS (10%), PPP2R1A (10%), and PTEN (5%), that have been reported in previous OCCC studies. We also detected mutations in MLL3 (15%), ARID1B (10%), and PIK3R1 (8%), which are associations not previously reported. Gene interaction analysis and functional assessment revealed that mutated genes were clustered into groups pertaining to chromatin remodeling, cell proliferation, DNA repair and cell cycle checkpointing, and cytoskeletal organization. Copy number variation analysis identified frequent amplification in chr8q (64%), chr20q (54%), and chr17q (46%) loci as well as deletion in chr19p (41%), chr13q (28%), chr9q (21%), and chr18q (21%) loci. Integration of the analyses uncovered that frequently mutated or amplified/deleted genes were involved in the KRAS/phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (82%) and MYC/retinoblastoma (75%) pathways as well as the critical chromatin remodeling complex switch/sucrose nonfermentable (85%). The individual and integrated analyses contribute details about the OCCC genomic landscape, which could lead to enhanced diagnostics and therapeutic options.

Watt LF, Panicker N, Mannan A, et al.
Functional importance of PP2A regulatory subunit loss in breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2017; 166(1):117-131 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) is a family of serine/threonine phosphatases that regulate multiple cellular signalling pathways involved in proliferation, survival and apoptosis. PP2A inhibition occurs in many cancers and is considered a tumour suppressor. Deletion/downregulation of PP2A genes has been observed in breast tumours, but the functional role of PP2A subunit loss in breast cancer has not been investigated.
METHODS: PP2A subunit expression was examined by immunohistochemistry in human breast tumours, and by qPCR and immunoblotting in breast cancer cell lines. PP2A subunits were inhibited by shRNA, and mutant PP2A genes overexpressed, in MCF10A and MCF7 cells, and growth and signalling in standard and three-dimensional cultures were assessed.
RESULTS: Expression of PP2A-Aα, PP2A-Bα and PP2A-B'α subunits was significantly lower in primary human breast tumours and lymph node metastases, compared to normal mammary tissue. PP2A-Aα and the regulatory subunits PP2A-Bα, -Bδ and -B'γ were also reduced in breast cancer cell lines compared to normal mammary epithelial cells. Functionally, shRNA-mediated knockdown of PP2A-Bα, -B'α and -B'γ, but not PP2A-Aα, induced hyper-proliferation and large multilobular acini in MCF10A 3D cultures, characterised by activation of ERK. Expression of a breast cancer-associated PP2A-A mutant, PP2A-Aα-E64G, which inhibits binding of regulatory subunits to the PP2A core, induced a similar hyper-proliferative phenotype. Knockdown of PP2A-Bα also induced hyper-proliferation in MCF7 breast cancer cells.
CONCLUSION: These results suggest that loss of specific PP2A regulatory subunits is functionally important in breast tumourigenesis, and support strategies to enhance PP2A activity as a therapeutic approach in breast cancer.

DeLair DF, Burke KA, Selenica P, et al.
The genetic landscape of endometrial clear cell carcinomas.
J Pathol. 2017; 243(2):230-241 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Clear cell carcinoma of the endometrium is a rare type of endometrial cancer that is generally associated with an aggressive clinical behaviour. Here, we sought to define the repertoire of somatic genetic alterations in endometrial clear cell carcinomas (ECCs), and whether ECCs could be classified into the molecular subtypes described for endometrial endometrioid and serous carcinomas. We performed a rigorous histopathological review, immunohistochemical analysis and massively parallel sequencing targeting 300 cancer-related genes of 32 pure ECCs. Eleven (34%), seven (22%) and six (19%) ECCs showed abnormal expression patterns for p53, ARID1A, and at least one DNA mismatch repair (MMR) protein, respectively. Targeted sequencing data were obtained from 30 of the 32 ECCs included in this study, and these revealed that two ECCs (7%) were ultramutated and harboured mutations affecting the exonuclease domain of POLE. In POLE wild-type ECCs, TP53 (46%), PIK3CA (36%), PPP2R1A (36%), FBXW7 (25%), ARID1A (21%), PIK3R1 (18%) and SPOP (18%) were the genes most commonly affected by mutations; 18% and 11% harboured CCNE1 and ERBB2 amplifications, respectively, and 11% showed DAXX homozygous deletions. ECCs less frequently harboured mutations affecting CTNNB1 and PTEN but more frequently harboured PPP2R1A and TP53 mutations than non-POLE endometrioid carcinomas from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Compared to endometrial serous carcinomas (TCGA), ECCs less frequently harboured TP53 mutations. When a surrogate model for the molecular-based TCGA classification was used, all molecular subtypes previously identified in endometrial endometrioid and serous carcinomas were present in the ECCs studied, including POLE, MMR-deficient, copy-number high (serous-like)/p53 abnormal, and copy-number low (endometrioid)/p53 wild-type, which were significantly associated with disease-free survival in univariate analysis. These findings demonstrate that ECCs constitute a histologically and genetically heterogeneous group of tumours with varying outcomes. Furthermore, our data suggest that the classification of ECCs as being generally 'high-grade' or 'type II' tumours may not be warranted. Copyright © 2017 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Anglesio MS, Papadopoulos N, Ayhan A, et al.
Cancer-Associated Mutations in Endometriosis without Cancer.
N Engl J Med. 2017; 376(19):1835-1848 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Endometriosis, defined as the presence of ectopic endometrial stroma and epithelium, affects approximately 10% of reproductive-age women and can cause pelvic pain and infertility. Endometriotic lesions are considered to be benign inflammatory lesions but have cancerlike features such as local invasion and resistance to apoptosis.
METHODS: We analyzed deeply infiltrating endometriotic lesions from 27 patients by means of exomewide sequencing (24 patients) or cancer-driver targeted sequencing (3 patients). Mutations were validated with the use of digital genomic methods in microdissected epithelium and stroma. Epithelial and stromal components of lesions from an additional 12 patients were analyzed by means of a droplet digital polymerase-chain-reaction (PCR) assay for recurrent activating KRAS mutations.
RESULTS: Exome sequencing revealed somatic mutations in 19 of 24 patients (79%). Five patients harbored known cancer driver mutations in ARID1A, PIK3CA, KRAS, or PPP2R1A, which were validated by Safe-Sequencing System or immunohistochemical analysis. The likelihood of driver genes being affected at this rate in the absence of selection was estimated at P=0.001 (binomial test). Targeted sequencing and a droplet digital PCR assay identified KRAS mutations in 2 of 3 patients and 3 of 12 patients, respectively, with mutations in the epithelium but not the stroma. One patient harbored two different KRAS mutations, c.35G→T and c.35G→C, and another carried identical KRAS c.35G→A mutations in three distinct lesions.
CONCLUSIONS: We found that lesions in deep infiltrating endometriosis, which are associated with virtually no risk of malignant transformation, harbor somatic cancer driver mutations. Ten of 39 deep infiltrating lesions (26%) carried driver mutations; all the tested somatic mutations appeared to be confined to the epithelial compartment of endometriotic lesions.

Le Gallo M, Rudd ML, Urick ME, et al.
Somatic mutation profiles of clear cell endometrial tumors revealed by whole exome and targeted gene sequencing.
Cancer. 2017; 123(17):3261-3268 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The molecular pathogenesis of clear cell endometrial cancer (CCEC), a tumor type with a relatively unfavorable prognosis, is not well defined. We searched exome-wide for novel somatically mutated genes in CCEC and assessed the mutational spectrum of known and candidate driver genes in a large cohort of cases.
METHODS: We conducted whole exome sequencing of paired tumor-normal DNAs from 16 cases of CCEC (12 CCECs and the CCEC components of 4 mixed histology tumors). Twenty-two genes-of-interest were Sanger-sequenced from another 47 cases of CCEC. Microsatellite instability (MSI) and microsatellite stability (MSS) were determined by genotyping 5 mononucleotide repeats.
RESULTS: Two tumor exomes had relatively high mutational loads and MSI. The other 14 tumor exomes were MSS and had 236 validated nonsynonymous or splice junction somatic mutations among 222 protein-encoding genes. Among the 63 cases of CCEC in this study, we identified frequent somatic mutations in TP53 (39.7%), PIK3CA (23.8%), PIK3R1 (15.9%), ARID1A (15.9%), PPP2R1A (15.9%), SPOP (14.3%), and TAF1 (9.5%), as well as MSI (11.3%). Five of 8 mutations in TAF1, a gene with no known role in CCEC, localized to the putative histone acetyltransferase domain and included 2 recurrently mutated residues. Based on patterns of MSI and mutations in 7 genes, CCEC subsets molecularly resembled serous endometrial cancer (SEC) or endometrioid endometrial cancer (EEC).
CONCLUSION: Our findings demonstrate molecular similarities between CCEC and SEC and EEC and implicate TAF1 as a novel candidate CCEC driver gene. Cancer 2017;123:3261-8. © 2017 American Cancer Society.

Zhang Y, Zhang L, Li R, et al.
Genetic variations in cancer-related significantly mutated genes and lung cancer susceptibility.
Ann Oncol. 2017; 28(7):1625-1630 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Background: Cancer initiation and development are driven by key mutations in driver genes. Applying high-throughput sequencing technologies and bioinformatic analyses, The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project has identified panels of somatic mutations that contributed to the etiology of various cancers. However, there are few studies investigating the germline genetic variations in these significantly mutated genes (SMGs) and lung cancer susceptibility.
Patients and methods: We comprehensively evaluated 1655 tagged single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located in 127 SMGs identified by TCGA, and test their association with lung cancer risk in large-scale case-control study. Functional effect of the validated SNPs, gene mutation frequency and pathways were analyzed.
Results: We found 11 SNPs in 8 genes showed consistent association (P < 0.1) and 8 SNPs significantly associated with lung cancer risk (P < 0.05) in both discovery and validation phases. The most significant association was rs10412613 in PPP2R1A, with the minor G allele associated with a decreased risk of lung cancer [odds ratio = 0.91, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.87-0.96, P = 2.3 × 10-4]. Cumulative analysis of risk score built as a weight sum of the 11 SNPs showed consistently elevated risk with increasing risk score (P for trend = 9.5 × 10-9). In stratified analyses, the association of PPP2R1A:rs10412613 and lung cancer risk appeared stronger among population of younger age at diagnosis and never smokers. The expression quantitative trait loci analysis indicated that rs10412613, rs10804682, rs635469 and rs6742399 genotypes significantly correlated with the expression of PPP2R1A, ATR, SETBP1 and ERBB4, respectively. From TCGA data, expression of the identified genes was significantly different in lung tumors compared with normal tissues, and the genes' highest mutation frequency was found in lung cancers. Integrative pathway analysis indicated the identified genes were mainly involved in AKT/NF-κB regulatory pathway suggesting the underlying biological processes.
Conclusion: This study revealed novel genetic variants in SMGs associated with lung cancer risk, which might contribute to elucidating the biological network involved in lung cancer development.

Cherniack AD, Shen H, Walter V, et al.
Integrated Molecular Characterization of Uterine Carcinosarcoma.
Cancer Cell. 2017; 31(3):411-423 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We performed genomic, epigenomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic characterizations of uterine carcinosarcomas (UCSs). Cohort samples had extensive copy-number alterations and highly recurrent somatic mutations. Frequent mutations were found in TP53, PTEN, PIK3CA, PPP2R1A, FBXW7, and KRAS, similar to endometrioid and serous uterine carcinomas. Transcriptome sequencing identified a strong epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) gene signature in a subset of cases that was attributable to epigenetic alterations at microRNA promoters. The range of EMT scores in UCS was the largest among all tumor types studied via The Cancer Genome Atlas. UCSs shared proteomic features with gynecologic carcinomas and sarcomas with intermediate EMT features. Multiple somatic mutations and copy-number alterations in genes that are therapeutic targets were identified.

Liu Q, Li Y, Feng Y, et al.
Single-cell analysis of differences in transcriptomic profiles of oocytes and cumulus cells at GV, MI, MII stages from PCOS patients.
Sci Rep. 2016; 6:39638 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common frequent endocrine disorder among women of reproductive age. Although assisted reproductive techniques (ARTs) are used to address subfertility in PCOS women, their effectiveness is not clear. Our aim was to compare transcriptomic profiles of oocytes and cumulus cells (CCs) between women with and without PCOS, and assess the effectiveness of ARTs in treating PCOS patients. We collected oocytes and CCs from 16 patients with and without PCOS patients to categorize them into 6 groups according to oocyte nuclear maturation. Transcriptional gene expression of oocyte and CCs was determined via single-cell RNA sequencing. The ratio of fertilization and cleavage was higher in PCOS patients than in non-PCOS patients undergoing ARTs, and there was no difference in the number of high-quality embryos between the groups. Differentially expressed genes including PPP2R1A, PDGFRA, EGFR, GJA1, PTGS2, TNFAIP6, TGF-β1, CAV1, INHBB et al. were investigated as potential causes of PCOS oocytes and CCs disorder at early stages, but their expression returned to the normal level at the metaphase II (MII) stage via ARTs. In conclusion, ARTs can improve the quality of cumulus-oocyte complex (COC) and increase the ratio of fertilization and cleavage in PCOS women.

Zhao S, Bellone S, Lopez S, et al.
Mutational landscape of uterine and ovarian carcinosarcomas implicates histone genes in epithelial-mesenchymal transition.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016; 113(43):12238-12243 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Carcinosarcomas (CSs) of the uterus and ovary are highly aggressive neoplasms containing both carcinomatous and sarcomatous elements. We analyzed the mutational landscape of 68 uterine and ovarian CSs by whole-exome sequencing. We also performed multiregion whole-exome sequencing comprising two carcinoma and sarcoma samples from six tumors to resolve their evolutionary histories. The results demonstrated that carcinomatous and sarcomatous elements derive from a common precursor having mutations typical of carcinomas. In addition to mutations in cancer genes previously identified in uterine and ovarian carcinomas such as TP53, PIK3CA, PPP2R1A, KRAS, PTEN, CHD4, and BCOR, we found an excess of mutations in genes encoding histone H2A and H2B, as well as significant amplification of the segment of chromosome 6p harboring the histone gene cluster containing these genes. We also found frequent deletions of the genes TP53 and MBD3 (a member with CHD4 of the nucleosome remodeling deacetylase complex) and frequent amplification of chromosome segments containing the genes PIK3CA, TERT, and MYC Stable transgenic expression of H2A and H2B in a uterine serous carcinoma cell line demonstrated that mutant, but not wild-type, histones increased expression of markers of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) as well as tumor migratory and invasive properties, suggesting a role in sarcomatous transformation. Comparison of the phylogenetic relationships of carcinomatous and sarcomatous elements of the same tumors demonstrated separate lineages leading to these two components. These findings define the genetic landscape of CSs and suggest therapeutic targets for these highly aggressive neoplasms.

Cunningham CE, Li S, Vizeacoumar FS, et al.
Therapeutic relevance of the protein phosphatase 2A in cancer.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(38):61544-61561 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Chromosomal Instability (CIN) is regarded as a unifying feature of heterogeneous tumor populations, driving intratumoral heterogeneity. Polo-Like Kinase 1 (PLK1), a serine-threonine kinase that is often overexpressed across multiple tumor types, is one of the key regulators of CIN and is considered as a potential therapeutic target. However, targeting PLK1 has remained a challenge due to the off-target effects caused by the inhibition of other members of the polo-like family. Here we use synthetic dosage lethality (SDL), where the overexpression of PLK1 is lethal only when another, normally non-lethal, mutation or deletion is present. Rather than directly inhibiting PLK1, we found that inhibition of PP2A causes selective lethality to PLK1-overexpressing breast, pancreatic, ovarian, glioblastoma, and prostate cancer cells. As PP2A is widely regarded as a tumor suppressor, we resorted to gene expression datasets from cancer patients to functionally dissect its therapeutic relevance. We identified two major classes of PP2A subunits that negatively correlated with each other. Interestingly, most mitotic regulators, including PLK1, exhibited SDL interactions with only one class of PP2A subunits (PPP2R1A, PPP2R2D, PPP2R3B, PPP2R5B and PPP2R5D). Validation studies and other functional cell-based assays showed that inhibition of PPP2R5D affects both levels of phospho-Rb as well as sister chromatid cohesion in PLK1-overexpressing cells. Finally, analysis of clinical data revealed that patients with high expression of mitotic regulators and low expression of Class I subunits of PP2A improved survival. Overall, these observations point to a context-dependent role of PP2A that warrants further exploration for therapeutic benefits.

Haesen D, Abbasi Asbagh L, Derua R, et al.
Recurrent PPP2R1A Mutations in Uterine Cancer Act through a Dominant-Negative Mechanism to Promote Malignant Cell Growth.
Cancer Res. 2016; 76(19):5719-5731 [PubMed] Related Publications
Somatic missense mutations in the Ser/Thr protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) Aα scaffold subunit gene PPP2R1A are among the few genomic alterations that occur frequently in serous endometrial carcinoma (EC) and carcinosarcoma, two clinically aggressive subtypes of uterine cancer with few therapeutic options. Previous studies reported that cancer-associated Aα mutants exhibit defects in binding to other PP2A subunits and contribute to cancer development by a mechanism of haploinsufficiency. Here we report on the functional significance of the most recurrent PPP2R1A mutations in human EC, which cluster in Aα HEAT repeats 5 and 7. Beyond predicted loss-of-function effects on the formation of a subset of PP2A holoenzymes, we discovered that Aα mutants behave in a dominant-negative manner due to gain-of-function interactions with the PP2A inhibitor TIPRL1. Dominant-negative Aα mutants retain binding to specific subunits of the B56/B' family and form substrate trapping complexes with impaired phosphatase activity via increased recruitment of TIPRL1. Accordingly, overexpression of the Aα mutants in EC cells harboring wild-type PPP2R1A increased anchorage-independent growth and tumor formation, and triggered hyperphosphorylation of oncogenic PP2A-B56/B' substrates in the GSK3β, Akt, and mTOR/p70S6K signaling pathways. TIPRL1 silencing restored GSK3β phosphorylation and rescued the EC cell growth advantage. Our results reveal how PPP2R1A mutations affect PP2A function and oncogenic signaling, illuminating the genetic basis for serous EC development and its potential control by rationally targeted therapies. Cancer Res; 76(19); 5719-31. ©2016 AACR.

Menderes G, Clark M, Santin AD
Novel targeted therapies in uterine serous carcinoma, an aggressive variant of endometrial cancer.
Discov Med. 2016; 21(116):293-303 [PubMed] Related Publications
Uterine serous carcinoma (USC) is a rare but aggressive subtype of endometrial cancer. Although it represents only 10% of all endometrial cancer cases, USC accounts for up to 40% of all endometrial cancer-related recurrences and subsequent deaths. With such a dismal prognosis, there is an expanding role for novel targeted approaches in the treatment of USC. Recent whole-exome sequencing studies have demonstrated gain of function of the HER2/NEU gene, as well as driver mutations in the PIK3CA/AKT/mTOR and cyclin E/FBXW7 oncogenic pathways in a large number of USCs. The results emphasize the relevance of these novel therapeutic targets for biologic therapy of USC, which will be reviewed in this article.

Gleeson FC, Kerr SE, Kipp BR, et al.
Targeted next generation sequencing of endoscopic ultrasound acquired cytology from ampullary and pancreatic adenocarcinoma has the potential to aid patient stratification for optimal therapy selection.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(34):54526-54536 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Less than 10% of registered drug intervention trials for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) include a biomarker stratification strategy. The ability to identify distinct mutation subsets via endoscopic ultrasound fine needle aspiration (EUS FNA) molecular cytology could greatly aid clinical trial patient stratification and offer predictive markers. We identified chemotherapy treatment naïve ampullary adenocarcinoma and PDAC patients who underwent EUS FNA to assess multigene mutational frequency and diversity with a surgical resection concordance assessment, where available.
METHODS: Following strict cytology smear screening criteria, targeted next generation sequencing (NGS) using a 160 cancer gene panel was performed.
RESULTS: Complete sequencing was achieved in 29 patients, whereby 83 pathogenic alterations were identified in 21 genes. Cytology genotyping revealed that the majority of mutations were identified in KRAS (93%), TP53 (72%), SMAD4 (31%), and GNAS (10%). There was 100% concordance for the following pathogenic alterations: KRAS, TP53, SMAD4, KMT2D, NOTCH2, MSH2, RB1, SMARCA4, PPP2R1A, PIK3R1, SCL7A8, ATM, and FANCD2. Absolute multigene mutational concordance was 83%. Incremental cytology smear mutations in GRIN2A, GATA3 and KDM6A were identified despite re-examination of raw sequence reads in the corresponding resection specimens.
CONCLUSIONS: EUS FNA cytology genotyping using a 160 cancer gene NGS panel revealed a broad spectrum of pathogenic alterations. The fidelity of cytology genotyping to that of paired surgical resection specimens suggests that EUS FNA represents a suitable surrogate and may complement the conventional stratification criteria in decision making for therapies and may guide future biomarker driven therapeutic development.

Lu YW, Zhang HF, Liang R, et al.
Colorectal Cancer Genetic Heterogeneity Delineated by Multi-Region Sequencing.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(3):e0152673 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Intratumor heterogeneity (ITH) leads to an underestimation of the mutational landscape portrayed by a single needle biopsy and consequently affects treatment precision. The extent of colorectal cancer (CRC) genetic ITH is not well understood in Chinese patients. Thus, we conducted deep sequencing by using the OncoGxOne™ Plus panel, targeting 333 cancer-specific genes in multi-region biopsies of primary and liver metastatic tumors from three Chinese CRC patients. We determined that the extent of ITH varied among the three cases. On average, 65% of all the mutations detected were common within individual tumors. KMT2C aberrations and the NCOR1 mutation were the only ubiquitous events. Subsequent phylogenetic analysis showed that the tumors evolved in a branched manner. Comparison of the primary and metastatic tumors revealed that PPP2R1A (E370X), SETD2 (I1608V), SMAD4 (G382T), and AR splicing site mutations may be specific to liver metastatic cancer. These mutations might contribute to the initiation and progression of distant metastasis. Collectively, our analysis identified a substantial level of genetic ITH in CRC, which should be considered for personalized therapeutic strategies.

Er TK, Su YF, Wu CC, et al.
Targeted next-generation sequencing for molecular diagnosis of endometriosis-associated ovarian cancer.
J Mol Med (Berl). 2016; 94(7):835-47 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Recent molecular and pathological studies suggest that endometriosis may serve as a precursor of ovarian cancer (endometriosis-associated ovarian cancer, EAOC), especially of the endometrioid and clear cell subtypes. Accordingly, this study had two cardinal aims: first, to obtain mutation profiles of EAOC from Taiwanese patients; and second, to determine whether somatic mutations present in EAOC can be detected in preneoplastic lesions. Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues were obtained from ten endometriosis patients with malignant transformation. Macrodissection was performed to separate four different types of cells from FFPE sections in six patients. The four types of samples included normal endometrium, ectopic endometriotic lesion, atypical endometriosis, and carcinoma. Ultra-deep (>1000×) targeted sequencing was performed on 409 cancer-related genes to identify pathogenic mutations associated with EAOC. The most frequently mutated genes were PIK3CA (6/10) and ARID1A (5/10). Other recurrently mutated genes included ETS1, MLH1, PRKDC (3/10 each), and AMER1, ARID2, BCL11A, CREBBP, ERBB2, EXT1, FANCD2, MSH6, NF1, NOTCH1, NUMA1, PDE4DIP, PPP2R1A, RNF213, and SYNE1 (2/10 each). Importantly, in five of the six patients, identical somatic mutations were detected in atypical endometriosis and tumor lesions. In two patients, genetic alterations were also detected in ectopic endometriotic lesions, indicating the presence of genetic alterations in preneoplastic lesion. Genetic analysis in preneoplastic lesions may help to identify high-risk patients at early stage of malignant transformation and also shed new light on fundamental aspects of the molecular pathogenesis of EAOC.
KEY MESSAGES: Molecular characterization of endometriosis-associated ovarian cancer genes by targeted NGS. Candidate genes predictive of malignant transformation were identified. Chromatin remodeling, PI3K-AKT-mTOR, Notch signaling, and Wnt/β-catenin pathway may promote cell malignant transformation.

Chang YS, Huang HD, Yeh KT, Chang JG
Genetic alterations in endometrial cancer by targeted next-generation sequencing.
Exp Mol Pathol. 2016; 100(1):8-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
Many genetic factors play important roles in the development of endometrial cancer. The aim of this study was to investigate genetic alterations in the Taiwanese population with endometrial cancer. DNA was extracted from 10 cases of fresh-frozen endometrial cancer tissue. The exomes of cancer-related genes were captured using the NimbleGen Comprehensive Cancer Panel (578 cancer-related genes) and sequenced using the Illumina Genomic Sequencing Platform. Our results revealed 120 variants in 99 genes, 21 of which were included in the Oncomine Cancer Research Panel used in the National Cancer Institute Match Trial. The 21 genes comprised 8 tumor suppressor candidates (ATM, MSH2, PIK3R1, PTCH1, PTEN, TET2, TP53, and TSC1) and 13 oncogene candidates (ALK, BCL9, CTNNB1, ERBB2, FGFR2, FLT3, HNF1A, KIT, MTOR, PDGFRA, PPP2R1A, PTPN11, and SF3B1). We identified a high frequency of mutations in PTEN (50%) and genes involved in the endometrial cancer-related molecular pathway, which involves the IL-7 signaling pathway (PIK3R1, n=1; AKT2, n=1; FOXO1, n=1). We report the mutational landscape of endometrial cancer in the Taiwanese population. We believe that this study will shed new light on fundamental aspects for understanding the molecular pathogenesis of endometrial cancer and may aid in the development of new targeted therapies.

Zou Y, Deng W, Wang F, et al.
A novel somatic MAPK1 mutation in primary ovarian mixed germ cell tumors.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 35(2):725-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
A recent exome-sequencing study revealed prevalent mitogen-activated protein kinase 1 (MAPK1) p.E322K mutation in cervical carcinoma. It remains largely unknown whether ovarian carcinomas also harbor MAPK1 mutations. As paralogous gene mutations co‑occur frequently in human malignancies, we analyzed here a total of 263 ovarian carcinomas for the presence of MAPK1 and paralogous MAPK3 mutations by DNA sequencing. A previously unreported MAPK1 p.D321N somatic mutation was identified in 2 out of 18 (11.1%) ovarian mixed germ cell tumors, while no other MAPK1 or MAPK3 mutation was detected in our samples. Of note, OCC‑115, the MAPK1‑mutated sample with bilateral cancerous ovaries affected, harbored MAPK1 mutation in the right ovary while retained the left ovary intact, implicating that the genetic alterations underlying ovarian mixed germ cell tumor may be different, even in patients with similar genetic backgrounds and tumor microenvironments. The results of evolutionary conservation and protein structure modeling analysis implicated that MAPK1 p.D321N mutation may be pathogenic. Additionally, mutations in protein phosphatase 2 regulatory subunit α (PPP2R1A), ring finger protein 43 (RNF43), DNA directed polymerase ε (POLE1), ribonuclease type III (DICER1), CCCTC‑binding factor (CTCF), ribosomal protein L22 (RPL22), DNA methyltransferase 3α (DNMT3A), transformation/transcription domain‑associated protein (TRRAP), isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH)1 and IDH2 were not detected in ovarian mixed germ cell tumors, implicating these genetic alterations may be not associated with MAPK1 mutation in the development of this malignancy. The present study identified a previously unreported MAPK1 mutation in ovarian mixed germ cell tumors for the first time, and this mutation may be actively involved in the tumorigenesis of this disease.

Kamburov A, Lawrence MS, Polak P, et al.
Comprehensive assessment of cancer missense mutation clustering in protein structures.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015; 112(40):E5486-95 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Large-scale tumor sequencing projects enabled the identification of many new cancer gene candidates through computational approaches. Here, we describe a general method to detect cancer genes based on significant 3D clustering of mutations relative to the structure of the encoded protein products. The approach can also be used to search for proteins with an enrichment of mutations at binding interfaces with a protein, nucleic acid, or small molecule partner. We applied this approach to systematically analyze the PanCancer compendium of somatic mutations from 4,742 tumors relative to all known 3D structures of human proteins in the Protein Data Bank. We detected significant 3D clustering of missense mutations in several previously known oncoproteins including HRAS, EGFR, and PIK3CA. Although clustering of missense mutations is often regarded as a hallmark of oncoproteins, we observed that a number of tumor suppressors, including FBXW7, VHL, and STK11, also showed such clustering. Beside these known cases, we also identified significant 3D clustering of missense mutations in NUF2, which encodes a component of the kinetochore, that could affect chromosome segregation and lead to aneuploidy. Analysis of interaction interfaces revealed enrichment of mutations in the interfaces between FBXW7-CCNE1, HRAS-RASA1, CUL4B-CAND1, OGT-HCFC1, PPP2R1A-PPP2R5C/PPP2R2A, DICER1-Mg2+, MAX-DNA, SRSF2-RNA, and others. Together, our results indicate that systematic consideration of 3D structure can assist in the identification of cancer genes and in the understanding of the functional role of their mutations.

Lee SY, Saito T, Mitomi H, et al.
Mutation spectrum in the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in gastric fundic gland-associated neoplasms/polyps.
Virchows Arch. 2015; 467(1):27-38 [PubMed] Related Publications
Frequent activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway has recently been demonstrated in gastric adenocarcinoma/neoplasia of chief cell predominant type (GA-CCP/GN-CCP) with submucosal involvement. In this study, we examined the activation status of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in GN-CCP without submucosal involvement, which is referred to as gastric dysplasia-CCP (GD-CCP). We also examined β-catenin expression and the mutation spectrum of PPP2R1A and Wnt pathway genes in 11 cases of GD-CCP, 25 cases of gastric polyps of fundic gland type (GPs-FG), and 21 cases of GPs-FG with dysplasia (GP-FGD). β-catenin nuclear staining was observed in 3 cases of GD-CCP, none of GPs-FG, and 6 cases of GPs-FGD. Mutations in Wnt pathway genes, including PPP2R1A, were observed in 4 cases of GDs-CCP, 10 cases of GPs-FG, and 7 cases of GPs-FGD. Two of these seven GPs-FGD cases showed β-catenin nuclear staining. However, none of the 4 GD-CCP cases with mutations or the 10 GPs-FG cases with mutations showed β-catenin nuclear staining. PPP2R1A mutations were observed in 1 GD-CCP case and 1 GPs-FGD case. Although the mutation spectra of the Wnt pathway genes in GD-CCP and GP-FG differed, based on the absence of β-catenin nuclear staining despite the genetic alterations, GD-CCP is more similar to GP-FG than to GN-CCP, which shows β-catenin nuclear staining and submucosal involvement. Activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling by the β-catenin nuclear transition may be required during progression from GD-CCP to GN-CCP. Furthermore, this is the first report describing PPP2R1A mutations in gastric fundic gland-associated neoplasms.

Stelloo E, Bosse T, Nout RA, et al.
Refining prognosis and identifying targetable pathways for high-risk endometrial cancer; a TransPORTEC initiative.
Mod Pathol. 2015; 28(6):836-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
This study aimed to investigate whether molecular analysis can be used to refine risk assessment, direct adjuvant therapy, and identify actionable alterations in high-risk endometrial cancer. TransPORTEC, an international consortium related to the PORTEC3 trial, was established for translational research in high-risk endometrial cancer. In this explorative study, routine molecular analyses were used to detect prognostic subgroups: p53 immunohistochemistry, microsatellite instability and POLE proofreading mutation. Furthermore, DNA was analyzed for hotspot mutations in 13 additional genes (BRAF, CDKNA2, CTNNB1, FBXW7, FGFR2, FGFR3, FOXL2, HRAS, KRAS, NRAS, PIK3CA, PPP2R1A, and PTEN) and protein expression of ER, PR, PTEN, and ARID1a was analyzed. Rates of distant metastasis, recurrence-free, and overall survival were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method and log-rank test. In total, samples of 116 high-risk endometrial cancer patients were included: 86 endometrioid; 12 serous; and 18 clear cell. For endometrioid, serous, and clear cell cancers, 5-year recurrence-free survival rates were 68%, 27%, and 50% (P=0.014) and distant metastasis rates 23%, 64%, and 50% (P=0.001), respectively. Four prognostic subgroups were identified: (1) a group of p53-mutant tumors; (2) microsatellite instable tumors; (3) POLE proofreading-mutant tumors; and (4) a group with no specific molecular profile (NSMP). In group 3 (POLE-mutant; n=14) and group 2 (microsatellite instable; n=19) patients, no distant metastasis occurred, compared with 50% distant metastasis rate in group 1 (p53-mutant; n=36) and 39% in group 4 (NSMP; P<0.001). Five-year recurrence-free survival was 93% and 95% for group 3 (POLE-mutant) and group 2 (microsatellite instable) vs 42% (group 1, p53-mutant) and 52% (group 4, NSMP; P<0.001). Targetable FBXW7 and FGFR2 mutations (6%), alterations in the PI3K-AKT pathway (60%) and hormone receptor positivity (45%) were frequently found. In conclusion, molecular analysis of high-risk endometrial cancer identifies four distinct prognostic subgroups, with potential therapeutic implications. High frequencies of targetable alterations were identified and may serve as targets for individualized treatment.

Hoang LN, McConechy MK, Meng B, et al.
Targeted mutation analysis of endometrial clear cell carcinoma.
Histopathology. 2015; 66(5):664-74 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIMS: Endometrial clear cell carcinomas (CCC) constitute fewer than 5% of all carcinomas of the endometrium. Currently, little is known regarding the genetic basis of endometrial CCC.
METHODS AND RESULTS: We performed genomic and immunohistochemical analyses on 14 rigorously reviewed pure endometrial CCC. The genomic analysis consisted of sequencing the coding regions of 26 genes implicated previously in endometrial carcinoma. Twelve of 14 tumours displayed a prototypical CCC immunophenotype [napsin A+, hepatocyte nuclear factor-1β (HNF1β(+) ) and oestrogen receptor(-) ] and all showed intact mismatch repair protein expression. We detected mutations in 11 of 14 tumours, and there was a predominance of mutations involving genes that are mutated more frequently in endometrial serous carcinomas than in endometrioid carcinomas. Two tumours displayed a prototypical serous carcinoma mutation profile (concurrent TP53 and PPP2R1A mutations, without PTEN, CTNNB1 or ARID1A mutation). No mutations in PTEN, CTNNB1 or POLE were identified.
CONCLUSIONS: The overall mutation profile of this cohort of endometrial CCC appears to be more serous-like than endometrioid-like, with a minor subset in the TP53-mutated CCC showing serous carcinoma profile. These findings provide new insights into the molecular features of morphologically prototypical endometrial CCC, and underscore the need for further investigations into the oncogenesis of endometrial CCC.

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