Recurrent urothelial carcinoma-like FGFR3 genomic alterations in malignant Brenner tumors of the ovary

Mod Pathol. 2021 May;34(5):983-993. doi: 10.1038/s41379-020-00699-1. Epub 2020 Oct 19.


Malignant Brenner tumor is a rare primary ovarian carcinoma subtype that may present diagnostic and therapeutic conundrums. Here, we characterize the genomics of 11 malignant Brenner tumors, which represented 0.1% of 14,153 clinically advanced ovarian carcinomas submitted for genomic profiling during the course of clinical care. At the time of molecular profiling, there was no evidence of a primary urothelial carcinoma of the urinary tract in any case. Cases with transitional-like morphologic features in the setting of variant ovarian serous or endometrioid carcinoma morphology were excluded from the final cohort. Malignant Brenner tumors exhibited CDKN2A/2B loss and oncogenic FGFR1/3 genomic alterations in 55% of cases, respectively; including recurrent FGFR3 S249C or FGFR3-TACC3 fusion in 45% of cases. FGFR3-mutated cases had an associated benign or borderline Brenner tumor pre-cursor components, further confirming the diagnosis and the ovarian site of origin. Malignant Brenner tumors were microsatellite stable, had low tumor mutational burden and exhibited no evidence of homologous recombination deficiency. PIK3CA mutations were enriched with FGFR3 alterations, while FGFR3 wild-type cases featured MDM2 amplification or TP53 mutations. The FGFR3 S249C short variant mutation was absent in 14,142 non-Brenner, ovarian carcinomas subtypes. In contrast to malignant Brenner tumors, FGFR1/2/3 alterations were present in ~5% of non-Brenner, ovarian serous, clear cell and endometrioid carcinoma subtypes, most often as FGFR1 amplification in serous carcinoma or FGFR2 short variant alterations in clear cell or endometrioid carcinomas, respectively. Finally, malignant Brenner tumors had overall distinct genomic signatures compared to FGFR-mutated ovarian serous, endometrioid, and clear cell carcinoma subtypes. This study provides insights into the molecular pathogenesis of malignant Brenner tumors, contrasts the extent of FGFR1/2/3 alterations in ovarian serous, clear cell and endometrioid carcinomas and emphasizes the potential value of novel and FDA-approved, anti-FGFR inhibitors, such as erdafitinib and pemigatinib, in refractory, FGFR3-mutated malignant Brenner tumors.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Brenner Tumor / genetics*
  • Brenner Tumor / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Endometrioid / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Endometrioid / pathology
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous / pathology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Ovary / pathology*
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 3 / genetics*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 3