LPCAT1-TERT fusions are uniquely recurrent in epithelioid trophoblastic tumors and positively regulate cell growth

Gavin R. Oliver, Sofia Marcano-Bonilla, Jonathan Quist, Ezequiel J. Tolosa, Eriko Iguchi, Amy A. Swanson, Nicole L. Hoppman, Tanya Schwab, Ashley Sigafoos, Naresh Prodduturi, Jesse S. Voss, Shannon M. Knight, Jin Zhang, Numrah Fadra, Raul Urrutia, Michael Zimmerman, Jan B. Egan, Anthony G. Bilyeu, Jin Jen, Ema VerasRema'a Al-Safi, Matthew Block, Sarah Kerr, Martin E. Fernandez-Zapico, John K. Schoolmeester, Eric W. Klee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD) is a heterogeneous group of lesions arising from placental tissue. Epithelioid trophoblastic tumor (ETT), derived from chorionic-type trophoblast, is the rarest form of GTD with only approximately 130 cases described in the literature. Due to its morphologic mimicry of epithelioid smooth muscle tumors and carcinoma, ETT can be misdiagnosed. To date, molecular characterization of ETTs is lacking. Furthermore, ETT is difficult to treat when disease spreads beyond the uterus. Here using RNA-Seq analysis in a cohort of ETTs and other gestational trophoblastic lesions we describe the discovery of LPCAT1-TERT fusion transcripts that occur in ETTs and coincide with underlying genomic deletions. Through cell-growth assays we demonstrate that LPCAT1-TERT fusion proteins can positively modulate cell proliferation and therefore may represent future treatment targets. Furthermore, we demonstrate that TERT upregulation appears to be a characteristic of ETTs, even in the absence of LPCAT1-TERT fusions, and that it appears linked to copy number gains of chromosome 5. No evidence of TERT upregulation was identified in other trophoblastic lesions tested, including placental site trophoblastic tumors and placental site nodules, which are thought to be the benign chorionic-type trophoblast counterpart to ETT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0250518
JournalPloS one
Issue number5 May
StatePublished - May 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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