Analyzing the Genetic Spectrum of Vascular Anomalies with Overgrowth via Cancer Genomics

J Invest Dermatol. 2018 Apr;138(4):957-967. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2017.10.033. Epub 2017 Nov 22.


Vascular anomalies are variably associated with overgrowth, skeletal anomalies, and abnormalities of the brain, leptomeninges, and eye. We assembled a 16-institution network to determine the range of genetic variants associated with a spectrum of vascular anomalies with overgrowth, ranging from mild to severe. Because of the overlap between cancer-associated variants and previously described somatic variants in vascular overgrowth syndromes, we employed tumor genetic profiling via high-depth next-generation sequencing using a panel to assay affected tissue from a diverse cohort of subjects with vascular anomalies with overgrowth. Seventy-five percent (43/57) harbored pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants in 10 genes. We identified two genes (mTOR, PIK3R1) and several variants previously described in the setting of cancer but that, to our knowledge, have not been described in vascular malformations. All were identified at low variant allele frequency consistent with somatic mosaic etiology. By leveraging somatic variant detection technology typically applied to cancer in a cohort inclusive of broad phenotypic severity, we demonstrated that most vascular anomalies with overgrowth harbor postzygotic gain-of-function mutations in oncogenes. Furthermore, continued interrogation of oncogenes in benign developmental disorders could provide insight into fundamental mechanisms regulating cell growth.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genes, Neoplasm / genetics*
  • Genetic Testing
  • Genomics / methods*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Phenotype
  • Vascular Malformations / complications
  • Vascular Malformations / genetics*
  • Vascular Malformations / metabolism
  • Young Adult


  • DNA, Neoplasm