Elucidating the pathogenesis of synchronous and metachronous tumors in a woman with endometrioid carcinomas using a whole-exome sequencing approach

Ren Chin Wu, Ema Veras, Jeffrey Lin, Emily Gerry, Asli Bahadirli-Talbott, Alexander Baras, Ayse Ayhan, Ie Ming Shih, Tian Li Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Synchronous endometrial and ovarian (SEO) carcinomas involve endometrioid neoplasms in both the ovary and uterus at the time of diagnosis. Patients were traditionally classified as having independent primary SEO lesions or as having metastatic endometrioid carcinoma. Recent studies have supported that SEO tumors result from the dissemination of cells from one organ site to another. However, whether this can be considered a "metastasis" or "dissemination" remains unclear. In this report, we performed whole-exome sequencing of tumor samples from a woman with well-differentiated endometrioid SEO tumors and a clinical "recurrent" poorly differentiated peritoneal tumor that was diagnosed 8 years after the complete resection of the SEO tumors. Somatic mutation analysis identified 132, 171, and 1214 nonsynonymous mutations in the endometrial, ovarian, and peritoneal carcinomas, respectively. A unique mutation signature associated with mismatch repair deficiency was observed in all three tumors. The SEO carcinomas shared 57 nonsynonymous mutations, whereas the clinically suspected recurrent carcinoma shared only eight nonsynonymous mutations with the SEO tumors. One of the eight shared somatic mutations involved PTEN; these shared mutations represent the earliest genetic alteration in the ancestor cell clone. Based on analysis of the phylogenetic tree, we predicted that the so-called recurrent peritoneal tumor was derived from the same endometrial ancestor clone as the SEO tumors, and that this clone migrated and established benign peritoneal endometriosis where the peritoneal tumor later arose. This case highlights the usefulness of next-generation sequencing in defining the etiology and clonal relationships of synchronous and metachronous tumors from patients, thus providing valuable insight to aid in the clinical management of rare or ambiguous tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCold Spring Harbor Molecular Case Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017


  • endometrial carcinoma
  • endometriosis
  • ovarian neoplasm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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