Mutation of the PTEN tumor suppressor gene is a frequent event in endometrial cancers. In other types of cancers, PTEN mutation has been associated with metastatic behavior and advanced stage. To examine the relationship between PTEN mutation and clinical features of endometrial cancers, we screened 136 cases for mutations in the nine exons and intronic splice sites of the PTEN gene, using single-strand conformation analysis, and aberrant bands were sequenced. Mutations were noted in 44 of 136 (32%) endometrial cancers, and two mutations were present in 8 cases. There were 36 cases with mutations resulting in truncated protein products, 6 cases with missense mutations in the phosphatase domain, 1 case with an in-frame deletion, and 1 case with a large insertion. Mutation of the PTEN gene correlated most closely with endometrioid histology; mutations were seen in only 5% (1 of 21) of serous/clear cell cancers compared with 37% (43 of 115) of endometrioid cancers (P = 0.004). PTEN mutation was associated with early stage, nonmetastatic disease and more favorable survival in both the entire group of 136 cases and in the 115 endometrioid cases. In addition, PTEN mutation correlated with other molecular features associated with favorable clinical behavior, including microsatellite instability and absence of p53 overexpression. Microsatellite instability was found in 60% of cases with PTEN mutations compared with only 25% of cases without mutations (P = 0.004). Overexpression of p53 was seen in only 14% of cases with PTEN mutations compared to 39% of cases without mutations (P = 0.006). In conclusion, PTEN mutation is associated with endometrioid histology and other favorable pathological, clinical, and molecular features rather than with increased metastatic potential as has been noted in some other types of cancers.

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