Validated biomarker assays confirm ARID1A loss is confounded with MMR deficiency, CD8 TIL infiltration, and provides no independent prognostic value in endometriosis-associated ovarian carcinomas

J Pathol. 2021 Dec 13. doi: 10.1002/path.5849. Online ahead of print.


ARID1A (BAF250a) is a component of the SWI/SNF chromatin modifying complex, plays an important tumour suppressor role, and is considered prognostic in several malignancies. However, in ovarian carcinomas there are contradictory reports on its relationship to outcome, immune response, and correlation with clinicopathological features. We assembled a series of 1,623 endometriosis-associated ovarian carcinomas, including 1,078 endometrioid (ENOC) and 545 clear cell (CCOC) ovarian carcinomas through combining resources of the Ovarian Tumor Tissue Analysis (OTTA) Consortium, the Canadian Ovarian Unified Experimental Resource (COEUR), local, and collaborative networks. Validated immunohistochemical surrogate assays for ARID1A mutations were applied to all samples. We investigated associations between ARID1A loss/mutation, clinical features, outcome, CD8+ tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (CD8+ TIL), and DNA mismatch repair deficiency (MMRd). ARID1A loss was observed in 42% of CCOC and 25% of ENOC. We found no associations between ARID1A loss and outcomes, stage, age, or CD8+ TIL status in CCOC. Similarly, we found no association with outcome or stage in endometrioid cases. In ENOC, ARID1A loss was more prevalent in younger patients (p = 0.012), and associated with MMRd (p < 0.001), and presence of CD8+ TIL (p = 0.008). Consistent with MMRd being causative of ARID1A mutations, in a subset of ENOC we also observed an association between ARID1A loss-of-function mutation as a result of small indels (p = 0.035, versus single nucleotide variants). In ENOC, the association between ARID1A loss, CD8+ TIL, and age, appears confounded by MMRd status. Although this observation does not explicitly rule out a role for ARID1A influence on CD8+ TIL infiltration in ENOC, given current knowledge regarding MMRd, it seems more likely that effects are dominated by the hypermutation phenotype. This large dataset with consistently applied biomarker assessment now provides a benchmark for the prevalence of ARID1A loss-of-function mutations in endometriosis-associated ovarian cancers and brings clarity to the prognostic significance. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Keywords: ARID1A; CD8; Clear cell ovarian carcinoma; DNA mismatch repair; Endometrioid ovarian carcinoma; Endometriosis-associated ovarian carcinoma; Immunohistochemistry; Prognosis.