Blue rubber bleb nevus syndrome (Bean syndrome) is a rare, severe disorder of unknown cause, characterized by numerous cutaneous and internal venous malformations; gastrointestinal lesions are pathognomonic. We discovered somatic mutations in TEK, the gene encoding TIE2, in 15 of 17 individuals with blue rubber bleb nevus syndrome. Somatic mutations were also identified in five of six individuals with sporadically occurring multifocal venous malformations. In contrast to common unifocal venous malformation, which is most often caused by the somatic L914F TIE2 mutation, multifocal forms are predominantly caused by double (cis) mutations, that is, two somatic mutations on the same allele of the gene. Mutations are identical in all lesions from a given individual. T1105N-T1106P is recurrent in blue rubber bleb nevus, whereas Y897C-R915C is recurrent in sporadically occurring multifocal venous malformation: both cause ligand-independent activation of TIE2, and increase survival, invasion, and colony formation when expressed in human umbilical vein endothelial cells.
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