The phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway is a major mediator of growth factor signaling, cell proliferation and metabolism. Somatic gain-of-function mutations in PIK3CA, the catalytic subunit of PI3K, have recently been discovered in a number of vascular anomalies. The timing and origin of these mutations remains unclear although they are believed to occur during embryogenesis. The cellular origin of these lesions likely involves endothelial cells or an early endothelial cell lineage. This review will cover the diseases and syndromes associated with PIK3CA mutations and discuss the cellular origin, pathways and mechanisms. Activating PIK3CA ‘hot spot’ mutations have long been associated with a multitude of cancers allowing the development of targeted pharmacological inhibitors that are FDA-approved or in clinical trials. Current and future therapeutic approaches for PIK3CA-related vascular anomalies are discussed.
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