High frequency of GNA14, GNAQ, and GNA11 mutations in cherry hemangioma: a histopathological and molecular study of 85 cases indicating GNA14 as the most commonly mutated gene in vascular neoplasms


Cherry hemangioma is the most common hemangioma in adult life. Neoplastic and non-neoplastic theories had both been proposed for its pathogenesis, but its nature is still poorly understood. We noted a significant subset of anastomosing hemangiomas and congenital hemangiomas harbored a population of small capillaries surrounded by a perivascular hyaline layer, reminiscent of the vessels seen in cherry hemangioma. Both anastomosing hemangioma and congenital hemangioma harbor recurrent mutations in exon 5 of GNAQ and its paralogues. In this study, we analyzed 68 cherry hemangiomas and 17 cherry hemangioma-like hemangiomas exhibiting additional non-classical features including markedly dilated, cavernous vessels, and/or a deep component extending to the deep dermis. By Sanger sequencing, GNAQ, GNA11, and GNA14 exon 5 mutations were identified in 12, 4, and 32 cherry hemangiomas, respectively, and 5, 3, and 3 cherry hemangioma-like hemangiomas, respectively. MassARRAY analysis detected mutations (including exon 2 GNAQG48V mutations) in additional 8 cherry hemangiomas and 3 cherry hemangioma-like hemangiomas. Overall, the cherry hemangiomas and cherry hemangioma-like hemangiomas had equal GNA mutation rates (82%), and GNA14 and GNAQ mutations were present in approximately half of cherry hemangiomas and cherry hemangioma-like hemangiomas, respectively. All mutations were mutually exclusive. KRASG12V mutation was also detected in one cherry hemangioma-like hemangioma without GNA mutations. In summary, our study demonstrated recurrent GNA14/GNAQ/GNA11 mutations were present in the majority of this very common hemangioma and established its neoplastic nature. Our results also expanded the morphological spectrum of GNA-mutated hemangiomas to include tumors composed of cavernous-like vessels and indicated GNA14 was the most commonly mutated gene in vascular tumors.

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This work was in part supported by the research fund from the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan (MOST 107-2320-B-002-048-) and 108-S4200 from National Taiwan University Hospital to Jau-Yu Liau.

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