Low grade serous ovarian tumours are a rare and under-characterised histological subtype of epithelial ovarian tumours, with little known of the molecular drivers and facilitators of tumorigenesis beyond classic oncogenic RAS/RAF mutations. With a move towards targeted therapies due to the chemoresistant nature of this subtype, it is pertinent to more fully characterise the genetic events driving this tumour type, some of which may influence response to therapy and/or development of drug resistance. We performed genome-wide high-resolution genomic copy number analysis (Affymetrix SNP6.0) and mutation hotspot screening (KRAS, BRAF, NRAS, HRAS, ERBB2 and TP53) to compare a large cohort of ovarian serous borderline tumours (SBTs, n = 57) with low grade serous carcinomas (LGSCs, n = 19). Whole exome sequencing was performed for 13 SBTs, nine LGSCs and one mixed low/high grade carcinoma. Copy number aberrations were detected in 61% (35/57) of SBTs, compared to 100% (19/19) of LGSCs. Oncogenic RAS/RAF/ERBB2 mutations were detected in 82.5% (47/57) of SBTs compared to 63% (12/19) of LGSCs, with NRAS mutations detected only in LGSC. Some copy number aberrations appeared to be enriched in LGSC, most significantly loss of 9p and homozygous deletions of the CDKN2A/2B locus. Exome sequencing identified BRAF, KRAS, NRAS, USP9X and EIF1AX as the most frequently mutated genes. We have identified markers of progression from borderline to LGSC and novel drivers of LGSC. USP9X and EIF1AX have both been linked to regulation of mTOR, suggesting that mTOR inhibitors may be a key companion treatment for targeted therapy trials of MEK and RAF inhibitors.
Keywords: borderline; copy number; exome; genomics; serous ovarian tumor.