Molecular analysis of endometrial serous carcinoma reveals distinct clinicopathologic and genomic subgroups

Gynecol Oncol. 2022 Mar;164(3):558-565. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2021.12.030. Epub 2022 Jan 5.


Objectives: Endometrial serous carcinoma (EMSC) is an aggressive variant of uterine cancer with limited therapeutic options. We sought to define distinct clinicopathologic and genomic EMSC subgroups.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 2159 EMSC and 2346 endometrioid-type endometrial carcinomas (EEC) tissue specimens that had undergone comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP) via the FoundationOne CDx assay during routine clinical care. High tumor mutational burden (TMB) was defined as ≥10mut/Mb using the FDA-approved CDx cutoff for pembrolizumab. Microsatellite instability (MSI) was determined on 95 loci. Evidence of homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) was determined via genomic loss of heterozygosity (gLOH), a validated HRD detection method for predicting PARP inhibitor effectiveness in ovarian carcinoma. High gLOH was defined as ≥16%.

Results: A genomic analysis of 2159 EMSCs revealed a predominance of TP53 mutations, microsatellite stability, low tumor mutational burden (TMB), and recurrent alterations of PIK3CA, PPP2R1A, ERBB2, CCNE1, FBXW7 and MYC. Evidence of HRD via high gLOH was identified in 22% of EMSCs. BRCA1 and BRCA2 alterations, as well as unique SET (solid, pseudo-endometrioid, and transitional cell-like) variant morphology, were enriched in HRD-EMSC. There was an increased frequency of CCNE1 amplification, a lower prevalence of PIK3CA and PPP2R1A alterations, and no differences in HRD, MSI or TMB biomarker frequencies in patients of predicted African ancestry. EMSC exhibited distinct gene mutation frequencies and MSI, TMB and gLOH biomarker signatures compared to a cohort 2346 EEC.

Conclusions: Molecularly defined subgroups provide a framework to test the susceptibility of EMSC to targeted therapies in specific genetic settings (e.g. HRD, PIK3CA, PPP2R1A, ERBB2, MYC, CCNE1).

Keywords: BRCA; Carcinoma; Endometrial; PARP; Serous.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Endometrioid* / genetics
  • Class I Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / genetics
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous* / drug therapy
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous* / genetics
  • Endometrial Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Endometrial Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Endometrial Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Microsatellite Instability
  • Mutation
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Class I Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases