Integrative Genomic Analysis of Coincident Cancer Foci Implicates CTNNB1 and PTEN Alterations in Ductal Prostate Cancer

Eur Urol Focus. 2019 May;5(3):433-442. doi: 10.1016/j.euf.2017.12.003. Epub 2017 Dec 8.


Background: Ductal adenocarcinoma of the prostate is an aggressive subtype, with high rates of biochemical recurrence and overall poor prognosis. It is frequently found coincident with conventional acinar adenocarcinoma. The genomic features driving evolution to its ductal histology and the biology associated with its poor prognosis remain unknown.

Objective: To characterize genomic features distinguishing ductal adenocarcinoma from coincident acinar adenocarcinoma foci from the same patient.

Design, setting, and participants: Ten patients with coincident acinar and ductal prostate cancer underwent prostatectomy. Laser microdissection was used to separately isolate acinar and ductal foci. DNA and RNA were extracted, and used for integrative genomic and transcriptomic analyses.

Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: Single nucleotide mutations, small indels, copy number estimates, and expression profiles were identified. Phylogenetic relationships between coincident foci were determined, and characteristics distinguishing ductal from acinar foci were identified.

Results and limitations: Exome sequencing, copy number estimates, and fusion genes demonstrated coincident ductal and acinar adenocarcinoma diverged from a common progenitor, yet they harbored distinct alterations unique to each focus. AR expression and activity were similar in both histologies. Nine of 10 cases had mutually exclusive CTNNB1 hotspot mutations or phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) alterations in the ductal component, and these were absent in the acinar foci. These alterations were associated with changes in expression in WNT- and PI3K-pathway genes.

Conclusions: Coincident ductal and acinar histologies typically are clonally related and thus arise from the same cell of origin. Ductal foci are enriched for cases with either a CTNNB1 hotspot mutation or a PTEN alteration, and are associated with WNT- or PI3K-pathway activation. These alterations are mutually exclusive and may represent distinct subtypes.

Patient summary: The aggressive subtype ductal adenocarcinoma is closely related to conventional acinar prostate cancer. Ductal foci contain additional alterations, however, leading to frequent activation of two targetable pathways.

Keywords: CTNNB1 mutations; Coincident foci; Ductal adenocarcinoma; PI3K pathway; PTEN alterations; Predictive biomarkers; Prostate cancer; WNT pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Acinar Cell / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Acinar Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Acinar Cell / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Ductal / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Ductal / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal / surgery
  • Exome Sequencing
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms, Multiple Primary / genetics
  • Neoplasms, Multiple Primary / pathology*
  • Neoplasms, Multiple Primary / surgery
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / genetics*
  • Prostatectomy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • beta Catenin / genetics*


  • CTNNB1 protein, human
  • beta Catenin
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • PTEN protein, human