RASA1 mosaic mutations in patients with capillary malformation-arteriovenous malformation

J Med Genet. 2020 Jan;57(1):48-52. doi: 10.1136/jmedgenet-2019-106024. Epub 2019 Jul 12.


Background: Capillary malformation-arteriovenous malformation is an autosomal dominant disorder, characterised by capillary malformations and increased risk of fast-flow vascular malformations, caused by loss-of-function mutations in the RASA1 or EPHB4 genes. Around 25% of the patients do not seem to carry a germline mutation in either one of these two genes. Even if other genes could be involved, some individuals may have mutations in the known genes that escaped detection by less sensitive techniques. We tested the hypothesis that mosaic mutations could explain some of previously negative cases.

Methods: DNA was extracted from peripheral blood lymphocytes, saliva or vascular malformation tissues from four patients. RASA1 and EPHB4 coding regions and exon/intron boundaries were analysed by targeted custom gene panel sequencing. A second panel and/or Sanger sequencing were used to confirm the identified mutations.

Results: Four distinct mosaic RASA1 mutations, with an allele frequency ranging from 3% to 25%, were identified in four index patients with classical capillary malformation-arteriovenous malformation phenotype. Three mutations were known, one was novel. In one patient, a somatic second hit was also identified. One index case had three affected children, illustrating that the mosaicism was also present in the germline.

Conclusion: This study shows that RASA1 mosaic mutations can cause capillary malformation-arteriovenous malformation. Thus, highly sensitive sequencing techniques should be considered as diagnostic tools, especially for patients with no family history. Even low-level mosaicism can cause the classical phenotype and increased risk for offspring. In addition, our study further supports the second-hit pathophysiological mechanism to explain the multifocality of vascular lesions in this disorder.

Keywords: RASA1; capillary malformation-arteriovenous malformation; mosaic mutation; second hit.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arteriovenous Malformations / diagnosis
  • Arteriovenous Malformations / genetics*
  • Arteriovenous Malformations / metabolism
  • Capillaries / abnormalities*
  • Capillaries / metabolism
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Mosaicism*
  • Mutation*
  • Port-Wine Stain / diagnosis
  • Port-Wine Stain / genetics*
  • Port-Wine Stain / metabolism
  • p120 GTPase Activating Protein / genetics*


  • RASA1 protein, human
  • p120 GTPase Activating Protein

Supplementary concepts

  • Capillary Malformation-Arteriovenous Malformation