Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome (BHD) is an inherited disorder caused by genetic mutations in the folliculin (FLCN) gene. Individuals with BHD have multiple pulmonary cysts and are at a high risk for developing renal cell carcinomas (RCCs). Currently, little information is available about whether pulmonary cysts are absolutely benign or if the lungs are at an increased risk for developing neoplasms. Herein, we describe 14 pulmonary neoplastic lesions in 7 patients with BHD. All patients were confirmed to have germline FLCN mutations. Neoplasm histologies included adenocarcinoma in situ (n = 2), minimally invasive adenocarcinoma (n = 1), papillary adenocarcinoma (n = 1), micropapillary adenocarcinoma (n = 1), atypical adenomatous hyperplasia (n = 8), and micronodular pneumocyte hyperplasia (MPH)-like lesion (n = 1). Five of the six adenocarcinoma/MPH-like lesions (83.3%) demonstrated a loss of heterozygosity (LOH) of FLCN. All of these lesions lacked mutant alleles and preserved wild-type alleles. Three invasive adenocarcinomas possessed additional somatic events: 2 had a somatic mutation in the epidermal growth factor receptor gene (EGFR) and another had a somatic mutation in KRAS. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that most of the lesions were immunostained for phospho-mammalian target of rapamycin (p-mTOR) and phospho-S6. Collective data indicated that pulmonary neoplasms of peripheral adenocarcinomatous lineage in BHD patients frequently exhibit LOH of FLCN with mTOR pathway signaling. Additional driver gene mutations were detected only in invasive cases, suggesting that FLCN LOH may be an underlying abnormality that cooperates with major driver gene mutations in the progression of pulmonary adenocarcinomas in BHD patients
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