Mutations in FGFR3 and PIK3CA, singly or combined with RAS and AKT1, are associated with AKT but not with MAPK pathway activation in urothelial bladder cancer

Nuria Juanpere, Laia Agell, Marta Lorenzo, Silvia De Muga, Laura López-Vilaró, Raquel Murillo, Sergi Mojal, Sergio Serrano, José A. Lorente, Josep Lloreta, Silvia Hernández

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53 Citations (Scopus)


Different members of the phosphoinositide 3 kinase - serine threonine protein kinase (PI3K-AKT) pathway are altered in bladder cancer. Fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) mutations characterize the low-grade tumors, and RAS genes are mutated in approximately 13% of all bladder tumors. Interestingly, a percentage of bladder tumors have alterations in more than 1 PI3K-AKT or rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog-RAF mitogen activated protein kinase (RAS-MAPK) pathway gene or their upstream regulators, but some combinations are mutually exclusive. We analyzed mutations in FGFR3, phosphoinositide 3 kinase catalytic alpha polypeptide (PIK3CA), v-akt murine thymoma viral oncogene homolog 1 (AKT1), v-Ki-ras2 Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KRAS), v-Ha-ras Harvey rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (HRAS), and v-raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B1 (BRAF) in 88 urothelial cell carcinomas and the immunohistochemical expression of phospho-v-akt murine thymoma viral oncogene homolog (AKT) and mitogen-activated protein kinase 1 and 2 (pERK1/2) in 80 and 77 urothelial cell carcinomas, respectively. Approximately 43% and 20.5% of tumors presented 1 and 2 mutated genes, respectively. FGFR3 mutations were more frequent alone, whereas PIK3CA mutations were associated with another mutated gene (FGFR3 and KRAS). Overall, mutated FGFR3 (FGFR3mut) and mutated FGFR3 (FGFR3mut)- mutated PIK3CA (PIK3CAmut) genotypes were associated with low-grade bladder tumors and mutated PIK3CA (PIK3CAmut)-mutated KRAS (KRAS mut) and mutated AKT1 (AKT1mut) were only present in high-grade tumors. There are no mutated FGFR3 (FGFR3mut)-mutated RAS (RASmut) nor mutated PIK3CA (PIK3CAmut)-mutated AKT1 (AKT1mut) combinations. Fifty percent and 56% of tumors showed high levels of pAKT and pERK1/2, respectively. High levels of pAKT were associated with total mutations, FGFR3mut, and PIK3CAmut tumors but not with tumor grade or stage. Wild-type tumors presented significantly higher pERK1/2 expression. Mutations in FGFR3 and FGFR3-PIK3CA but not single PIK3CA mutations characterize low-grade bladder tumors. Single FGFR3 or PIK3CA mutations and the different mutation combinations FGFR3-PIK3CA/AKT1 and PIK3CA-RAS can activate the AKT but not the MAPK pathway. Other genes different from FGFR3 may be related with the pERK activation in bladder tumors. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1573-1582
JournalHuman Pathology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012


  • AKT pathway
  • Bladder
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • MAPK pathway
  • Mutation


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