Mass General Hospital Cancer Center treats patients with many cancer types. To learn more about the different cancer types that can be treated at the Cancer Center, please visit the Cancer Center website at the following page:
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PIK3CA is a gene that provides the code for making one piece of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) protein, which is an enzyme that is part of an important signaling pathway (PI3K/AKT) involved in controlling the growth, division, survival, nutrient utilization, movement and structure of cells. PIK3CA encodes the catalytic subunit of PI3K, which is the part of the protein that lets it function as an enzyme. PI3K function is tightly maintained in normal cells. The enzymatic activity is activated by specific signals from growth factor receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) or from activated RAS proteins. PI3K then generates molecules that attract another enzyme (particularly AKT) to the cell membrane, where it is activated. The activated AKT acts on other proteins that regulate various cell processes that promotes cell growth and survival.
Mutations in PIK3CA lead to enhanced activation of its signaling function, thereby driving the tumorigenic process. These activating mutations are commonly associated with breast and colon cancer, and more rarely with melanoma of the skin. Defects in this gene have also been associated with ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, and liver cancer.
Tumor mutation profiling performed clinically at the MGH Cancer Center has identified PIK3CA mutations across a broad-spectrum of cancer types. The highest incidence of PIK3CA mutations have been found in endometrial cancer (25%), breast cancer (20%), colon cancer (25%) and cancers of the head and neck (10%). In the other major tumor types, PIK3CA mutations have been found in less than 10% of cases that have been tested. The MGH Cancer Center is a world leader in the treatment of PIK3CA mutated tumors, as well as in the number of clinical trials available for treatment with new therapies against tumors with PIK3CA mutations.
Sources: Genetics Home Reference
The PIK3CA gene encodes the p110 alpha catalytic subunit of the phosphoinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) complex. PI3K receives upstream activation signals from growth factor receptor tyrosine kinases (e.g. EGFR family members), and in turn signals through AKT and mTOR in order to promote cell survival, cell growth and cellular proliferation. PIK3CA mutations lead to increased activation of PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling. PI3K function is opposed by PTEN, a lipid phosphatase that is often inactivated by mutations or silenced by methylation in many cancers.
Tumor mutation profiling performed clinically at the MGH Cancer Center has identified PIK3CA mutations across a broad-spectrum of cancer types. The highest incidence of PIK3CA mutations have been found in endometrial cancer (25%), breast cancer (20%), colon cancer (25%) and cancers of the head and neck (10%). In the other major tumor types, PIK3CA mutations have been found in less than 10% of cases that have been tested.
Sources: Genetics Home Reference
The mutation of a gene provides clinicians with a very detailed look at your cancer. Knowing this information could change the course of your care. To learn how you can find out more about genetic testing please visit http://www.massgeneral.org/cancer/news/faq.aspx
or contact the Cancer Center.