Endocr Relat Cancer. 2018 May 23. pii: ERC-18-0162. doi: 10.1530/ERC-18-0162. [Epub ahead of print]
One gene - many endocrine and metabolic syndromes: PTEN-opathies and precision medicine.
An average of 10% of all cancers (range 1-40%) are caused by heritable mutations and over the years, have become powerful models for precision medicine practice. Furthermore, such cancer predisposition genes for seemingly rare syndromes have turned out to help explain mechanisms of sporadic carcinogenesis and often inform normal development. The tumor suppressor PTEN encodes a ubiquitously expressed phosphatase that counteracts the PI3K/AKT/mTOR cascade - one of the most critical growth-promoting signaling pathways. Clinically, individuals with germline PTEN mutations have diverse phenotypes and fall under the umbrella term PTEN hamartoma tumor syndrome (PHTS). PHTS encompasses four clinically distinct allelic overgrowth syndromes, namely Cowden, Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba, Proteus, and Proteus-like syndromes. Relatedly, mutations in other genes encoding components of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway downstream of PTEN also predispose patients to partially overlapping clinical manifestations, with similar effects as PTEN malfunction. We refer to these syndromes as "PTEN-opathies." As a tumor suppressor and key regulator of normal development, PTEN dysfunction can cause a spectrum of phenotypes including benign overgrowths, malignancies, metabolic, and neurodevelopmental disorders. Relevant to clinical practice, the identification of PTEN mutations in patients not only establishes a PHTS molecular diagnosis, but also informs on more accurate cancer risk assessment and medical management of those patients and affected family members. Importantly, timely diagnosis is key, as early recognition allows for preventative measures such as high-risk screening and surveillance even prior to cancer onset. This review highlights the translational impact that the discovery of PTEN has had on the diagnosis, management, and treatment of PHTS.