ATRX protein loss and deregulation of PI3K/AKT pathway is frequent in pilocytic astrocytoma with anaplastic features

Adriana Olar, Diep Tran, Vidya P. Mehta, Annekathrin Reinhardt, Jawad H. Manekia, Maria Garnovskaya, Benjamin Ellezam, Rajyalakshmi Luthra, Erik P. Sulman, Carrie A. Mohila, Gerald A. Campbell, Suzanne Z. Powell, Gregory N. Fuller, Kenneth D. Aldape, Adekunle M. Adesina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Introduction: Pilocytic astrocytoma (PA) with anaplastic features (PAAF) is a rare entity associated with decreased survival. It is characterized by hypercellularity, atypia, brisk mitotic activity, variable necrosis, and association with a classic PA component or anaplastic transformation in a recurrent tumor with a previously-documented classic PA. Materials and methods: We present 5 PAAF cases with clinical, radiological, pathological, and molecular correlation. We interrogated ATRX, IDH, TP53, PTEN, EGFR, BRAF, 6q23, p16(Ink4a) by sequencing, FISH, and immunohistochemistry. Results: Four tumors were located in the cerebellum, and 1 was supratentorial. All showed ATRX protein loss by immunohistochemistry, loss of heterozygosity for PTEN, and had no IDH/TP53/BRAF mutations, nor EGFR amplification. Two of 5 tumors showed BRAF duplication by pyrosequencing. All showed loss of PTEN nuclear expression in subsets of tumor cells, which was associated with variable cytoplasmic positivity for pS6. There was a relative correlation between loss of PTEN expression and pS6 cytoplasmic expression. p53 was expressed in ~ 50% of tumor cells in all tumors. P16 was variably lost in all cases. One tumor showed MYB/6q23 deletion. Conclusion: We confirm ATRX protein loss suggestive of ATRX alteration as well as dysregulation of the PI3K/AKT pathway and, less often, of the MAPK/ERK pathway in PAAF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-73
Number of pages15
JournalClinical Neuropathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019


  • Anaplastic
  • PI3K/AKT
  • Pilocytic astrocytoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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