Ovarian insufficiency and CTNNB1 mutations drive malignant transformation of endometrial hyperplasia with altered PTEN/PI3K activities

J Terakawa, etc
PNAS, 2019

Endometrioid endometrial carcinomas (EECs) carry multiple driver mutations even when they are low grade. However, the biological significance of these concurrent mutations is unknown. We explored the interactions among three signature EEC mutations: loss-of-function (LOF) mutations in PTEN, gain-of-function (GOF) mutations of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), and CTNNB1 exon 3 mutations, utilizing in vivo mutagenesis of the mouse uterine epithelium. While epithelial cells with a monoallelic mutation in any one of three genes failed to propagate in the endometrium, any combination of two or more mutant alleles promoted the growth of epithelium, causing simple hyperplasia, in a dose-dependent manner. Notably, Ctnnb1 exon 3 deletion significantly increased the size of hyperplastic lesions by promoting the growth of PTEN LOF and/or PI3K GOF mutant cells through the activation of neoadenogenesis pathways. Although these three mutations were insufficient to cause EEC in intact female mice, castration triggered malignant transformation, leading to myometrial invasion and serosal metastasis. Treatment of castrated mice with progesterone or estradiol attenuated the neoplastic transformation. This study demonstrates that multiple driver mutations are required for premalignant cells to break the growth-repressing field effect of normal endometrium maintained by ovarian steroids and that CTNNB1 exon 3 mutations play critical roles in the growth of preneoplastic cells within the endometrium of premenopausal women and in the myometrial invasion of EECs in menopausal women.

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doi: 10.1073/pnas.1814506116