Research Papers:

GPCR-mediated PI3K pathway mutations in pediatric and adult thyroid cancer

Avaniyapuram Kannan Murugan, Ebtesam Qasem, Hindi Al-Hindi and Ali S. Alzahrani _

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Oncotarget. 2019; 10:4107-4124. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.26993

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Avaniyapuram Kannan Murugan1, Ebtesam Qasem1, Hindi Al-Hindi2 and Ali S. Alzahrani1,3

1 Division of Molecular Endocrinology, Department of Molecular Oncology, Riyadh 11211, Saudi Arabia

2 Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Riyadh 11211, Saudi Arabia

3 Department of Medicine, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, Riyadh 11211, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence to:

Ali S. Alzahrani,email: [email protected]

Keywords: thyroid cancer; mutations; PTEN; oncogene; PIK3CA

Received: February 21, 2019     Accepted: May 13, 2019     Published: June 25, 2019


Whole exome sequencing (WES) recently identified frequent mutations in the genes of GPCR-mediated PI3K pathway (LPAR4, PIK3CA, and PTEN) in a Chinese population with papillary thyroid cancers (PTCs). The study found LPAR4 mutations as novel gene mutations in adult population with differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC). Here, we determine the prevalence of somatic mutations in this pathway (LPAR4 (exon 1), PIK3CA (exons 9 and 20) and PTEN (exons 5, 6, 7 and 8) in 323 thyroid samples consisting of 17 multinodular goiters (MNG), 89 pediatric DTCs, 204 adult DTCs, and 13 aggressive thyroid cancers including 10 poorly differentiated (PDTC) and 3 anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) from another ethnic population. We found 3.37% and 2.45% (includes Q214H, a novel PTEN mutation) in GPCR-mediated PI3K pathway of pediatric and adult DTCs, respectively. Analyses of 507 DTCs from thyroid Cancer Genome Atlas data (TCGA) revealed a low prevalence of mutations in this pathway (1.18%). In 13 cases with PDTC and ATC, we found no mutation in genes of this pathway. By contrast, analyses of 117 aggressive thyroid cancers (PDTC and ATC) from TCGA showed 13% of mutations in this pathway. Moreover, analyses of 1080 pan-cancer cell lines and 9020 solid tumors of TCGA data revealed high rates of mutations in this pathway (cell lines, 24.8%; tumors, 24.8%). In addition, PIK3CA + PTEN (p = <0.001) and LPAR4 + PIK3CA (p = 0.003) significantly co-occurred. Our study reveals a low prevalence of GPCR-mediated PI3K pathway mutations both in pediatric and adult DTCs corroborating the TCGA data and suggests a significant role of this pathway only in a small portion of DTCs. The high prevalence of mutations in this pathway in other solid malignancies suggests an important role in their pathogenesis making it an attractive target for therapeutic intervention both in a small subset of DTCs and other solid cancers.

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