Background: PI3K/AKTsignaling pathway plays an important role in cell growth, proliferation, and tumorgenesis of various malignancies. This signaling pathway has been shown to be frequently altered in several human cancers including ovarian cancers. However the role of this oncogenic signaling pathway has not been explored in the Middle Eastern epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). Therefore, we investigated PI3K/AKT genetic alterations such as PIK3CA amplification, PIK3CA mutation, PTEN protein loss and their relationships with various clinicopathological characteristics in 156 EOCs.
Results: Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) technique and DNA sequencing were used to analyze PIK3CA amplification and mutation respectively. Expression of PIK3CA protein expression (p110 alpha), PTEN, p-AKT and Ki-67 was analyzed by immunohistochemistry. PIK3CA amplification was seen in 54 of 152 (35.5%) EOC cases analyzed; PIK3CA gene mutations in 6/153 EOC (3.9%); KRAS mutations in 3/154 EOC (1.9%), BRAF mutations in 3/156 EOC (1.9%), p53 mutation in 50/154 EOC (32.5%), and loss of PTEN protein expression in 33/144 EOC (22.9%). p110 alpha overexpression was associated with increased phosphorylation of AKT-Ser 473 and with the proliferation marker Ki-67.
Conclusion: Our data showed mutual exclusivity between the molecular event of PIK3CA amplification and mutations in PIK3CA, KRAS, BRAF genes, which suggests that each of these alterations may individually be sufficient to drive ovarian tumor pathogenesis independently. High prevalence of genetic alterations in PI3K/AKT pathway in a Middle Eastern ovarian carcinoma provides genetic evidence supporting the notion that dysregulated PI3K/AKT pathways play an important role in the pathogenesis of ovarian cancers.