Widely metastatic glioblastoma with BRCA1 and ARID1A mutations: A case report

Melissa Umphlett, Stephanie Shea, Jessica Tome-Garcia, Yizhou Zhang, Adilia Hormigo, Mary Fowkes, Nadejda M. Tsankova, Raymund L. Yong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Glioblastoma (GBM) is a highly malignant brain neoplasm with poor survival. Despite its aggressive nature, metastatic spread of GBM is identified only rarely. While the molecular alterations associated with GBM and its subtypes are well-described, there remains a gap in understanding which alterations may predispose towards metastasis. In this report, we present a case of GBM with multi-organ metastases and discuss its genomic alterations. Case presentation: A 74-year-old woman was diagnosed with left occipital glioblastoma (IDH-wildtype, MGMT-unmethylated), for which she underwent resection, standard chemoradiation, and then stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for local recurrence. One month after SRS, work-up for a pathologic hip fracture revealed a left breast mass, lytic lesions involving pelvic bones, and multiple pulmonary and hepatic lesions. Biopsies of the breast and bone lesions both demonstrated metastatic IDH-wildtype GBM. For worsening neurologic symptoms, the patient underwent debulking of a large right temporal lobe recurrence and expired shortly thereafter. Autopsy confirmed metastatic GBM in multiple systemic sites, including bilateral lungs, heart, liver, thyroid, left breast, small bowel, omentum, peritoneal surfaces, visceral surfaces, left pelvic bone, and hilar lymph nodes. Targeted sequencing was performed on tissue samples obtained pre- and postmortem, as well as on cell cultures and an orthotopic mouse xenograft derived from premortem surgical specimens. A BRCA1 mutation (p.I571T) was the only variant found in common among the primary, recurrence, and metastatic specimens, suggesting its likely status as an early driver mutation. Multiple subclonal ARID1A mutations, which promote genomic instability through impairment of DNA mismatch repair, were identified only in the recurrence. Mutational spectrum analysis demonstrated a high percentage of C:G to T:A transitions in the post-treatment samples but not in the primary tumor. Conclusion: This case report examines a rare case of widely metastatic IDH-wildtype GBM with a clonal somatic mutation in BRCA1. Post-treatment recurrent tumor in the brain and in multiple systemic organs exhibited evidence of acquired DNA mismatch repair deficiency, which may be explained by functional loss of ARID1A. We identify a potential role for immune checkpoint and PARP inhibitors in the treatment of metastatic GBM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number47
JournalBMC Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 20 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • ARID1A mutation
  • BRCA1 mutation
  • Glioblastoma
  • Metastasis
  • Mismatch repair deficiency
  • Temozolomide
  • Treatment resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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