Dissecting TSC2-mutated renal and hepatic angiomyolipomas in an individual with ARID1B-associated intellectual disability

BMC Cancer. 2019 May 10;19(1):435. doi: 10.1186/s12885-019-5633-1.


Background: Several subunits of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex are implicated in both cancer and neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD). Though there is no clinical evidence for an increased tumor risk in individuals with NDDs due to germline mutations in most of these genes so far, this has been repeatedly proposed and discussed. A young woman with NDD due to a de novo mutation in ARID1B now presented with a large renal (> 19 cm in diameter) and multiple hepatic angiomyolipomas (AMLs) but no other signs of tuberous sclerosis complex.

Methods: We analyzed tumor and healthy tissue samples with exome and panel sequencing.

Results: Additionally to the previously known, germline ARID1B variant we identified a post-zygotic truncating TSC2 variant in both renal and hepatic AMLs but not in any of the healthy tissues. We did not detect any further, obvious tumor driver events. The identification of a passenger variant in SIPA1L3 in both AMLs points to a common clonal origin. Metastasis of the renal AML into the liver is unlikely on the basis of discordant histopathological features. Our findings therefore point to very low-grade mosaicism for the TSC2 variant, possibly in a yet unknown mesenchymal precursor cell that expanded clonally during tumor development. A possible contribution of the germline ARID1B variant to the tumorigenesis remains unclear but cannot be excluded given the absence of any other evident tumor drivers in the AMLs.

Conclusion: This unique case highlights the blurred line between tumor genetics and post-zygotic events that can complicate exact molecular diagnoses in patients with rare manifestations. It also demonstrates the relevance of multiple disorders in a single individual, the challenges of detecting low-grade mosaicisms, and the importance of proper diagnosis for treatment and surveillance.

Keywords: ARID1B; Angiomyolipoma; Mosaic; Neurodevelopmental disorders; TSC2; Tuberous sclerosis complex.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Angiomyolipoma / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Female
  • Germ-Line Mutation
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / complications*
  • Intellectual Disability / genetics
  • Kidney Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Liver Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Mosaicism
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Tuberous Sclerosis Complex 2 Protein / genetics*
  • Whole Exome Sequencing
  • Young Adult


  • ARID1B protein, human
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • TSC2 protein, human
  • Transcription Factors
  • Tuberous Sclerosis Complex 2 Protein