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Hum Pathol. 2012 Dec;43(12):2207-12. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2012.03.012. Epub 2012 Jun 15.

Mucinous breast carcinomas lack PIK3CA and AKT1 mutations.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA.


Activating point mutations in the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase catalytic subunit (PIK3CA) are among the most common molecular defects in invasive breast cancer. Point mutations in the downstream kinase AKT1 are seen in a minority of carcinomas. These mutations are found preferentially in estrogen receptor-positive and Her2-positive breast carcinomas; however, special morphologic types of breast cancer have not been well studied. Twenty-nine cases of pure invasive mucinous carcinoma and 9 cases of ductal carcinoma with mucinous differentiation were screened for a panel of point mutations (>321 mutations in 30 genes) using a multiplex polymerase chain reaction panel with mass spectroscopy readout. In addition, associated ductal carcinoma in situ, hyperplasia, or columnar cell lesions were separately tested where available (25 lesions). In 3 invasive cases and 15 ductal carcinoma in situ/proliferative lesions, PIK3CA hotspot mutations were, instead, tested by direct sequencing. No point mutations were identified in invasive mucinous breast carcinoma. This contrasts with the 35% frequency of PIK3CA mutations in a comparative group of invasive ductal carcinomas of no special type. Interestingly, PIK3CA hotspot point mutations were identified in associated ductal carcinoma in situ (3/14) and hyperplasia (atypical ductal hyperplasia [2/3], usual ductal hyperplasia [2/3], columnar cell change [1/5]), suggesting that PIK3CA mutations may play a role in breast epithelial proliferation. This series represents the largest study, to date, of PIK3CA genotyping in mucinous carcinoma and supports the unique pathogenetics of invasive mucinous breast carcinoma.

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