Exome sequencing identifies BRAF mutations in papillary craniopharyngiomas (2014)

Craniopharyngiomas are epithelial tumors that typically arise in the suprasellar region of the brain1. Patients experience substantial clinical sequelae both from extension of the tumors and from therapeutic interventions which damage the optic chiasm, the pituitary stalk, and the hypothalamic area2–4. Using whole exome sequencing we identified mutations in beta-catenin (CTNNB1) in nearly all adamantinomatous craniopharyngiomas (11/12; 92%) and recurrent mutations in BRAF (V600E) in all papillary craniopharyngiomas (3/3; 100%). Targeted genotyping revealed BRAF V600E in 95% of papillary craniopharyngiomas (36 of 39 tumors) and CTNNB1 mutation in 96% of adamantinomatous craniopharyngiomas (51 of 53 tumors). The CTNNB1 and BRAF mutations were clonal in each tumor subtype and no other recurrent mutations or genomic aberrations were detected in either subtype. Adamantinomatous and papillary craniopharyngiomas harbor mutations that are mutually exclusive and clonal. These findings have important implications for the diagnosis and treatment of these neoplasms.