Outcome and molecular landscape of patients with PIK3CA-mutated metastatic breast cancer

Ann Oncol. 2020 Mar;31(3):377-386. doi: 10.1016/j.annonc.2019.11.006. Epub 2020 Jan 24.


Background: α-Selective phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitors improve outcome in patients with PIK3CA-mutated, hormone receptor-positive (HR+)/Her2- metastatic breast cancer (mBC). Nevertheless, it is still unclear how to integrate this new drug family in the treatment landscape.

Patients and methods: A total of 649 patients with mBC from the SAFIR02 trial (NCT02299999), with available mutational profiles were selected for outcome analysis. PIK3CA mutations were prospectively determined by next-generation sequencing on metastatic samples. The mutational landscape of PIK3CA-mutated mBC was assessed by whole-exome sequencing (n = 617). Finally, the prognostic value of PIK3CA mutations during chemotherapy was assessed in plasma samples (n = 44) by next-generation sequencing and digital PCR.

Results: Some 28% (104/364) of HR+/Her2- tumors and 10% (27/255) of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) presented a PIK3CA mutation (P < 0.001). PIK3CA-mutated HR+/Her2- mBC was less sensitive to chemotherapy [adjusted odds ratio: 0.40; 95% confidence interval (0.22-0.71); P = 0.002], and presented a worse overall survival (OS) compared with PIK3CA wild-type [adjusted hazard ratio: 1.44; 95% confidence interval (1.02-2.03); P = 0.04]. PIK3CA-mutated HR+/Her2- mBC was enriched in MAP3K1 mutations (15% versus 5%, P = 0.0005). In metastatic TNBC (mTNBC), the median OS in patients with PIK3CA mutation was 24 versus 14 months for PIK3CA wild-type (P = 0.03). We further looked at the distribution of PIK3CA mutation in mTNBC according to HR expression on the primary tumor. Some 6% (9/138) of patients without HR expression on the primary and 36% (14/39) of patients with HR+ on the primary presented PIK3CA mutation (P < 0.001). The level of residual PIK3CA mutations in plasma after one to three cycles of chemotherapy was associated with a poor OS [continuous variable, hazard ratio: 1.03, 95% confidence interval (1.01-1.05), P = 0.007].

Conclusion: PIK3CA-mutated HR+/Her2- mBC patients present a poor outcome and resistance to chemotherapy. Patients with PIK3CA-mutated TNBC present a better OS. This could be explained by an enrichment of PIK3CA mutations in luminal BC which lost HR expression in the metastatic setting.

Trial registration: SAFIR02 trial: NCT02299999.

Keywords: PI3K inhibitors; PIK3CA mutation; metastatic breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Class I Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / genetics
  • Prognosis
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / genetics
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms* / genetics


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Class I Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • PIK3CA protein, human
  • Receptor, ErbB-2

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02299999