PIK3CA gene mutations in endometrial carcinoma: correlation with PTEN and K-RAS alterations

Hum Pathol. 2006 Nov;37(11):1465-72. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2006.05.007. Epub 2006 Jul 26.


Alterations in the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT signaling pathway are common in endometrial carcinoma. Inactivation of the tumor suppressor gene PTEN leads to a constitutively active PI3K pathway, which plays a role in the early steps of endometrial tumorigenesis. Other alterations in the PI3K/AKT pathway are mutations in the PIK3CA gene, which encode the p110alpha catalytic subunit of PI3K. PIK3CA mutations cluster to the helical (exon 9) and the kinase (exon 20) domains of the gene. In endometrial carcinomas, PIK3CA mutations have been found to coexist frequently with PTEN mutations, but it is not clear whether they occur in cells with monoallelic or biallelic inactivation of PTEN. In the present study we have evaluated PIK3CA mutational status in a series of 33 endometrial carcinomas, previously screened for microsatellite instability and mutations in PTEN, K-RAS, and CTNNB-1. The tumors were also evaluated for loss of heterozygosity on 10q23 and hypermethylation of the promoter region of PTEN/psiPTEN to assess the monoallelic or biallelic inactivation status of PTEN. PIK3CA mutations were detected in 8 (24%) of the 33 cases. Seven mutations were located in exon 20 and 1 in exon 9. PTEN alterations were found in 19 cases (57%). Biallelic inactivation of PTEN was demonstrated in 11 tumors, whereas 8 tumors exhibited alteration in only 1 of the 2 alleles. PIK3CA mutations coexisted with monoallelic alterations of PTEN in 4 cases (2 mutations and 2 allelic imbalances), with biallelic PTEN inactivation in 1 case (mutation and promoter methylation), and 3 tumors showed PIK3CA mutations in association with wild-type PTEN. PIK3CA mutations did not correlate with microsatellite instability or mutations in CTNNB-1. However, PIK3CA and K-RAS mutations (8 cases) were mutually exclusive alterations. In summary, the results confirm that PIK3CA mutations are frequent in endometrial carcinoma and support the hypothesis that PIK3CA mutations may have an additive effect to PTEN monoallelic inactivation in endometrial carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Class I Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genes, ras / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / genetics*
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / genetics*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Class I Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • PIK3CA protein, human
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • PTEN protein, human