PIK3CA-mutations in breast cancer

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2022 Dec;196(3):483-493. doi: 10.1007/s10549-022-06637-w. Epub 2022 Oct 24.


Purpose: Phosphatidylinositide-3-kinase (PI3K) regulates proliferation and apoptosis; somatic PIK3CA-mutations may activate these processes. Aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of PIK3CA-mutations in a cohort of early stage breast cancer patients and the association to the course of disease.

Patients and methods: From an unselected cohort of 1270 breast cancer patients (PiA, Prognostic Assessment in routine application, NCT01592825) 1123 tumours were tested for the three PIK3CA hotspot-mutations H1047R, E545K, and E542K by qPCR. Primary objectives were the prevalence of somatic PIK3CA-mutations and their association to tumour characteristics. Secondary objective was the association of PIK3CA-mutations to recurrence-free interval (RFI) and overall survival.

Results: PIK3CA-mutation rate was 26.7% (300 of 1123). PIK3CA-mutations were significantly more frequent in steroid hormone-receptor (SHR)-positive HER2-negative (31.4%), and G1 and G2 tumours (32.8%). Overall, we did not observe a significant association of PIK3CA-mutations to RFI. In SHR-positive BCs with PIK3CA-mutations, a strong trend for impaired RFI was observed (adjusted HR 1.64, 95% CI 0.958-2.807), whilst in SHR-negative BCs PIK3CA-mutations were insignificantly associated with improved RFI (adjusted HR 0.49; 95% CI 0.152-1.597). Of note, we observed a significantly detrimental prognostic impact of PIK3CA-mutations on RFI in SHR-positive, HER2-negative BCs if only aromatase inhibitors were administered as adjuvant therapy (adjusted HR 4.44, 95% CI 1.385-13.920), whilst no impact was observed in tamoxifen treated patients.

Conclusion: This cohort study speficies the overall mutation rate of PIK3CA in early breast cancer. The impact of PIK3CA-mutations on RFI and OS was heterogeneous. Our results suggest that estrogen deprivation failes to be active in case of PIK3CA-mutation.

Keywords: Early breast cancer; PI3K; PIK3CA; Prognosis; Somatic mutations.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Class I Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / genetics
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / genetics


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