Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are common mesenchymal tumors of the gastrointestinal tract. Activating KIT or PDGFRA (platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha) mutations have been shown to be a major force in GIST pathogenesis. Recently, a previously undescribed N659K PDGFRA exon 14 mutation has been reported in GISTs. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the frequency of GISTs with PDGFRA exon 14 mutations and define the clinicopathologic profile of such tumors. In all, 200 GISTs negative for mutations in KIT exons 9, 11, 13 and 17 and PDGFRA exons 12 and 18 were evaluated for PDGFRA exon 14 mutations by PCR amplification and direct sequencing. Mutations were found in 11 of 119 (9%) gastric GISTs. None of the 81 GISTs from other than gastric location had such a PDGFRA mutation. A majority of these mutations (eight cases) represented simple 2125C>A or C>G missense mutations, leading to substitution of the lysine for asparagine (N659K). However, in two cases, 2123A>T missense mutations leading to substitution of the tyrosine for asparagine (N659Y) was found instead. Of 11 PDGFRA N659-mutant GISTs, 10 had pure epithelioid morphology. One tumor had mixed, predominantly spindle and focally epithelioid cell morphology. Frequency of PDGFRA N659-mutant GISTs among pure epithelioid GISTs was almost 19%. Immunohistochemically, the majority (64%) of these tumors lacked KIT expression or showed only focal scattered KIT positivity. Tumor size ranged from 2.5 to 16 cm (average 7.1 cm). Low mitotic activity, <or=5 mitoses/50 high power field was detected in six GISTs including larger, >5 cm tumors. Based on mitotic activity and tumor size, six tumors were classified as probably benign with very low malignant potential. Low to moderate malignant potential and high malignant potential was suggested in three and two tumors, respectively. In four cases with moderate or high malignant potential GISTs, a long-term follow-up (average 235.5 months) showed favorable course of disease.