A unique spectrum of somatic PIK3CA (p110alpha) mutations within primary endometrial carcinomas

Clin Cancer Res. 2011 Mar 15;17(6):1331-40. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-10-0540. Epub 2011 Jan 25.


Purpose: The goal of this study was to comprehensively define the incidence of mutations in all exons of PIK3CA in both endometrioid endometrial cancer (EEC) and nonendometrioid endometrial cancer (NEEC).

Experimental design: We resequenced all coding exons of PIK3CA and PTEN, and exons 1 and 2 of KRAS, from 108 primary endometrial tumors. Somatic mutations were confirmed by sequencing matched normal DNAs. The biochemical properties of a subset of novel PIK3CA mutations were determined by exogenously expressing wild type and mutant constructs in U2OS cells and measuring levels of AKT(Ser473) phosphorylation.

Results: Somatic PIK3CA mutations were detected in 52.4% of 42 EECs and 33.3% of 66 NEECs. Half (29 of 58) of all nonsynonymous PIK3CA mutations were in exons 1-7 and half were in exons 9 and 20. The exons 1-7 mutations localized to the ABD, ABD-RBD linker and C2 domains of p110α. Within these regions, Arg88, Arg93, Gly106, Lys111, Glu365, and Glu453, were recurrently mutated; Arg88, Arg93, and Lys111 formed mutation hotspots. The p110α-R93W, -G106R, -G106V, -K111E, -delP449-L455, and -E453K mutants led to increased levels of phospho-AKT(Ser473) compared to wild-type p110α. Overall, 62% of exons 1-7 PIK3CA mutants and 64% of exons 9-20 PIK3CA mutants were activating; 72% of exon 1-7 mutations have not previously been reported in endometrial cancer.

Conclusions: Our study identified a new subgroup of endometrial cancer patients with activating mutations in the amino-terminal domains of p110α; these patients might be appropriate for consideration in clinical trials of targeted therapies directed against the PI3K pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma / genetics*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Class I Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Exons
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Mutation*
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / genetics
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / genetics*
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / physiology*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • ras Proteins / genetics


  • KRAS protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Class I Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • PIK3CA protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • PTEN protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • ras Proteins