Low-grade fibromatosis-like metaplastic carcinoma (FLMC) is a very rare subtype of triple-negative metaplastic (spindle cell) breast carcinoma. It is characterized by the proliferation of spindle cells closely resembling fibromatosis, which represents a benign fibroblastic/myofibroblastic breast proliferation. Unlike most triple-negative and basal-like breast cancers, FLMC has a very low potential for metastases, but demonstrates frequent local recurrences.
To genetically characterize FLMC.
To this end, we analyzed 7 cases by targeted next-generation sequencing for 315 cancer-related genes and performed comparative microarray copy number analysis in 5 of these cases.
All cases shared TERT alterations (6 patients with recurrent c.-124C>T TERT promoter mutation and 1 patient with copy number gain encompassing the TERT locus), had oncogenic PIK3CA/PIK3R1 mutations (activation of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway), and lacked mutations in TP53. TERT was overexpressed in all FLMCs. CDKN2A/B loss or mutation was observed in 4 of 7 cases (57%). Furthermore, tumors displayed chromosomal stability with only few copy number variations and a low tumor mutational burden.
We conclude that FLMCs typically show the recurrent TERT promoter mutation c.-124C>T, activation of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway, low genomic instability, and wild-type TP53. In conjunction with previous data of metaplastic (spindle cell) carcinoma with and without fibromatosis-like morphology, FLMC is most likely distinguished by TERT promoter mutation. Thus, our data support the notion of a distinct subgroup within low-grade metaplastic breast cancer with spindle cell morphology and associated TERT mutations.
Research funded by Roche Company, Swiss. The Roche Company has played no role in the design and interpretation of the results of this study.
Supplemental digital content is available for this article. See text for hyperlink.
The authors have no relevant financial interest in the products or companies described in this article.