Endometrial intraepithelial neoplasia (EIN) and atypical endometrial hyperplasia (AH) are histomorphologically defined precursors to endometrioid adenocarcinoma, which are unified as EIN/AH by the World Health Organization. EIN/AH harbors a constellation of molecular alterations similar to those found in endometrioid adenocarcinoma. However, the process of clonal evolution from EIN/AH to carcinoma is poorly characterized. To investigate, we performed next-generation sequencing, copy number alteration (CNA) analysis, and immunohistochemistry for mismatch repair protein expression on EIN/AH and endometrioid adenocarcinoma samples from 6 hysterectomy cases with spatially distinct EIN/AH and carcinoma. In evaluating all samples, EIN/AH and carcinoma did not differ in mutational burden, CNA burden, or specific genes mutated (all P >.1). All paired EIN/AH and carcinoma samples shared at least one identical somatic mutation, frequently in PI(3)K pathway members. Large CNAs (>10 genes in length) were identified in 83% of cases; paired EIN/AH and carcinoma samples shared at least one identical CNA in these cases. Mismatch repair protein expression matched in all paired EIN/AH and carcinoma samples. All paired EIN/AH and carcinoma samples had identical The Cancer Genome Atlas subtype, with 3 classified as “copy number low endometrioid” and 3 classified as “microsatellite instability hypermutated.” Although paired EIN/AH and carcinoma samples were clonal, private mutations (ie, present in only one sample) were identified in EIN/AH and carcinoma in all cases, frequently in established cancer-driving genes. These findings indicate that EIN/AH gives rise to endometrioid adenocarcinoma by a complex process of subclone evolution, not a linear accumulation of molecular events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-77
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Pathology
StatePublished - Sep 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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