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Int J Cancer. 2008 Mar 1;122(5):1189-94.

Novel mutant-enriched sequencing identified high frequency of PIK3CA mutations in pharyngeal cancer.

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The Department of Otolaryngology/Head an Neck Surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY 10032, USA.


We previously reported 4 PIK3CA mutations in 38 head and neck cancer samples, 3 of which were identified in 6 pharyngeal cancer samples. To determine the mutation frequency of PIK3CA in pharyngeal cancer, we studied 24 additional cases of pharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma in this study. Using both direct genomic DNA sequencing and novel mutant-enriched sequencing methods developed specifically for the 3 hot-spot mutations (H1047R, E545K and E452K) of PIK3CA, we detected 5 mutations of PIK3CA in the 24 pharyngeal cancers (20.8%). Three of the 5 mutations had been missed by the conventional sequencing method and were subsequently detected by novel mutant-enriched sequencing methods. We showed that the mutant-enriched sequencing method for the H1047R hot-spot mutation can identify the mutation in a mixed population of mutant and wild-type DNA sequences at 1:360 ratios. These novel mutant-enriched sequencing methods allow the detection of the PIK3CA hot-spot mutations in clinical specimens which often contain limited tumor tissues (i.e., biopsy specimens). The data further support that oncogenic PIK3CA may play a critical role in pharyngeal carcinogenesis, and the mutant-enriched sequencing methods for PIK3CA are sensitive and reliable ways to detect PIK3CA mutations in clinical samples. Because PIK3CA and its pathway are potential targets for chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and frequent somatic mutation of PIK3CA has been identified in many human cancer types (e.g., breast cancer, colorectal cancer), the abilities to detect PIK3CA mutations with enhanced sensitivities have great potential impacts on target therapies for many cancer types.

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