PIK3CA mutations in lipomatosis of nerve with or without nerve territory overgrowth

Patrick R. Blackburn, Dragana Milosevic, Tomas Marek, Andrew L. Folpe, B. Matthew Howe, Robert J. Spinner, Jodi M. Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Lipomatosis of nerve is a rare malformation characterized by a fibrolipomatous proliferation within peripheral nerve. Lipomatosis of nerve most frequently involves the median nerve, and manifests clinically as a compressive neuropathy. However, 30–60% of cases are associated with tissue overgrowth within the affected nerve’s territory (e.g., macrodactyly for lipomatosis of nerve in the distal median nerve). Somatic activating PIK3CA mutations have been identified in peripheral nerve from patients with lipomatosis of nerve with type I macrodactyly, which is now classified as a PIK3CA-related overgrowth spectrum disorder. However, the PIK3CA mutation status of histologically confirmed lipomatosis of nerve, including cases involving proximal nerves, and cases without territory overgrowth, has not been determined. Fourteen histologically confirmed cases of lipomatosis of nerve involving the median (N = 6), brachial plexus (N = 1), ulnar (N = 3), plantar (N = 2), sciatic and superficial peroneal nerves (N = 1 each) were included. Ten cases had nerve territory overgrowth, ranging from macrodactyly to hemihypertrophy; and four cases had no territory overgrowth. Exome sequencing revealed “hotspot” activating PIK3CA missense mutations in 6/7 cases. Droplet digital polymerase chain reaction for the five most common PIK3CA mutations (p.H1047R, p.H1047L, p.E545K, p.E542K, and p.C420R) confirmed the exome results and identified an additional six cases with mutations (12/14 total). PIK3CA mutations were found in 8/10 cases with territory overgrowth (N = 7 p.H1047R and N = 1 p.E545K), including two proximal nerve cases with extremity overgrowth, and 4/4 cases without territory overgrowth (p.H1047R and p.H1047L, N = 2 each). The variant allele frequency of PIK3CA mutations (6–32%) did not correlate with the overgrowth phenotype. Three intraneural lipomas had no detected PIK3CA mutations. As PIK3CA mutations are frequent events in lipomatosis of nerve, irrespective of anatomic site or territory overgrowth, we propose that all phenotypic variants of this entity be classified within the PIK3CA-related overgrowth spectrum and termed “PIK3CA-related lipomatosis of nerve”.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)420-430
Number of pages11
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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