Background: Fibro-adipose vascular anomaly (FAVA) is a new entity of vascular anomalies with somatic and mosaic gain-of-function mutations of the phosphatidylinositol-4, 5-bisphosphate 3-kinase catalytic subunit alpha (PIK3CA). PIK3CA mutation excessively activates mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway, which promotes angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis. Histologically, FAVA is composed of intramuscular fibrous and adipose tissues with venous malformation (VM). Although sirolimus known as a mTOR inhibitor has good response to FAVA, expression pattern of the mTOR pathway was still unclear. Herein, we immunohistochemically investigated three novel FAVA patients with an emphasis on the mTOR pathway (p-S6K1, p-4EBP1 and p-AKT). Case presentation: Case 1: A 10-year-old female had complained of pain in the left thigh since she was 6-year-old. Under the clinical diagnosis of VM, she underwent surgical resection for the lesion. Case 2: A 29-year-old female patient had complained of discomfort and mild pain in the left shoulder since she was 18-year-old. After childbirth, she had severe ongoing pain and contracture of the shoulder. Under clinical diagnosis of VM, surgical resection was performed. Case 3: A 53-year-old female had complained of pain and knee restriction after surgical treatment of a knee tumor at the age of 31. Under the clinical diagnosis of atypical lipomatous tumor or high grade liposarcoma, surgical resection was performed. Histologically, all three patients presented with characteristic features of fibrous and adipose tissues with abnormal vessels within the skeletal muscle, leading to diagnosis of FAVA. Although VM has been reported as an important finding in FAVA, immunohistological findings demonstrated that abnormal vessels comprised complex of VM and lymphatic malformation (LM) in all cases. Furthermore, besides vascular malformation, abnormal fibrous and adipose tissues of FAVA expressed mTOR pathway components. Conclusions: We presented three new cases of FAVA. Histological and immunohistochemical analyses revealed that VM and LM complex was an important finding in FAVA, and that the mTOR pathway components were expressed in abnormal fibrous tissue, adipose tissue and vascular malformation. These findings suggested that FAVA might be a mesenchymal malformation caused by PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway.
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