Deregulation of EGFR signaling is common in non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) and this finding led to the development of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) that are highly effective in a subset of NSCLC. Mutations of EGFR (mEGFR) and copy number gains (CNGs) of EGFR (gEGFR) and HER2 (gHER2) have been reported to predict for TKI response. Mutations in KRAS (mKRAS) are associated with primary resistance to TKIs.
We investigated the relationship between mutations, CNGs and response to TKIs in a large panel of NSCLC cell lines. Genes studied were EGFR, HER2, HER3 HER4, KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA. Mutations were detected by sequencing, while CNGs were determined by quantitative PCR (qPCR), fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH). IC50 values for the TKIs gefitinib (Iressa) and erlotinib (Tarceva) were determined by MTS assay. For any of the seven genes tested, mutations (39/77, 50.6%), copy number gains (50/77, 64.9%) or either (65/77, 84.4%) were frequent in NSCLC lines. Mutations of EGFR (13%) and KRAS (24.7%) were frequent, while they were less frequent for the other genes. The three techniques for determining CNG were well correlated, and qPCR data were used for further analyses. CNGs were relatively frequent for EGFR and KRAS in adenocarcinomas. While mutations were largely mutually exclusive, CNGs were not. EGFR and KRAS mutant lines frequently demonstrated mutant allele specific imbalance i.e. the mutant form was usually in great excess compared to the wild type form. On a molar basis, sensitivity to gefitinib and erlotinib were highly correlated. Multivariate analyses led to the following results:
1. mEGFR and gEGFR and gHER2 were independent factors related to gefitinib sensitivity, in descending order of importance.
2. mKRAS was associated with increased in vitro resistance to gefitinib.
Our in vitro studies confirm and extend clinical observations and demonstrate the relative importance of both EGFR mutations and CNGs and HER2 CNGs in the sensitivity to TKIs.
Activating mutations in one allele of an oncogene (heterozygous mutations) are widely believed to be sufficient for tumorigenesis. However, mutant allele specific imbalance (MASI) has been observed in tumors and cell lines harboring mutations of oncogenes.
We determined 1) mutational status, 2) copy number gains (CNGs) and 3) relative ratio between mutant and wild type alleles of KRAS, BRAF, PIK3CA and EGFR genes by direct sequencing and quantitative PCR assay in over 400 human tumors, cell lines, and xenografts of lung, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers. Examination of a public database indicated that homozygous mutations of five oncogenes were frequent (20%) in 833 cell lines of 12 tumor types. Our data indicated two major forms of MASI: 1) MASI with CNG, either complete or partial; and 2) MASI without CNG (uniparental disomy; UPD), due to complete loss of wild type allele. MASI was a frequent event in mutant EGFR (75%) and was due mainly to CNGs, while MASI, also frequent in mutant KRAS (58%), was mainly due to UPD. Mutant: wild type allelic ratios at the genomic level were precisely maintained after transcription. KRAS mutations or CNGs were significantly associated with increased ras GTPase activity, as measured by ELISA, and the two molecular changes were synergistic. Of 237 lung adenocarcinoma tumors, the small number with both KRAS mutation and CNG were associated with shortened survival.
MASI is frequently present in mutant EGFR and KRAS tumor cells, and is associated with increased mutant allele transcription and gene activity. The frequent finding of mutations, CNGs and MASI occurring together in tumor cells indicates that these three genetic alterations, acting together, may have a greater role in the development or maintenance of the malignant phenotype than any individual alteration.
Deregulation of the EGFR signaling pathway is one of the most frequently observed genetic abnormalities that drives cancer development. Although mutations in the downstream components of the EGFR signaling pathway, including KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA, have been reported in numerous cancers, extensive mutation and copy number analysis of these genes in clinical samples has not been performed for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).
We examined the mutations and copy number alterations of KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA in 115 clinical specimens of HNSCC obtained from surgically treated patients.
We used DNA sequencing to detect mutations and the copy number changes were evaluated by qPCR and array comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) analysis.
We examined the mutations and copy number alterations of KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA in 115 clinical specimens of HNSCC obtained from surgically treated patients. We identified 3 mutations (2.6%) in K-RAS and 3 mutations (2.6%) in PIK3CA. Copy number amplification was found in 37 cases (32.2%) for PIK3CA, 10 cases (8.7%) for K-RAS and 2 cases (1.7%) for BRAF. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis revealed that copy-number amplification of PIK3CA was markedly associated with cancer relapse in patients without lymph node metastasis. (Log-rank test, p = 0.026)
Copy number amplification of the PIK3CA gene is associated with poor prognosis in HNSCC patients without lymph node metastasis. The PIK3CA copy number status will serve as a marker of poor prognosis in patients with HNSCC.
PIK3CA; KRAS; BRAF; Copy number analysis; Prognostic Factor
Fifty percent of lung adenocarcinomas harbor somatic mutations in six genes that encode proteins in the EGFR signaling pathway, i.e., EGFR, HER2/ERBB2, HER4/ERBB4, PIK3CA, BRAF, and KRAS. We performed mutational profiling of a large cohort of lung adenocarcinomas to uncover other potential somatic mutations in genes of this signaling pathway that could contribute to lung tumorigenesis.
We analyzed genomic DNA from a total of 261 resected, clinically annotated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) specimens. The coding sequences of 39 genes were screened for somatic mutations via high-throughput dideoxynucleotide sequencing of PCR-amplified gene products. Mutations were considered to be somatic only if they were found in an independent tumor-derived PCR product but not in matched normal tissue. Sequencing of 9MB of tumor sequence identified 239 putative genetic variants. We further examined 22 variants found in RAS family genes and 135 variants localized to exons encoding the kinase domain of respective proteins. We identified a total of 37 non-synonymous somatic mutations; 36 were found collectively in EGFR, KRAS, BRAF, and PIK3CA. One somatic mutation was a previously unreported mutation in the kinase domain (exon 16) of FGFR4 (Glu681Lys), identified in 1 of 158 tumors. The FGFR4 mutation is analogous to a reported tumor-specific somatic mutation in ERBB2 and is located in the same exon as a previously reported kinase domain mutation in FGFR4 (Pro712Thr) in a lung adenocarcinoma cell line.
This study is one of the first comprehensive mutational analyses of major genes in a specific signaling pathway in a sizeable cohort of lung adenocarcinomas. Our results suggest the majority of gain-of-function mutations within kinase genes in the EGFR signaling pathway have already been identified. Our findings also implicate FGFR4 in the pathogenesis of a subset of lung adenocarcinomas.
Meta-analyses were conducted to characterize patterns of mutation incidence in non small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Nine genes with the most complete published mutation coincidence data were evaluated. One meta-analysis generated a ‘mutMap’ to visually represent mutation coincidence by ethnicity (Western/Asian) and histology (adenocarcinoma [ADC] or squamous cell carcinoma). Another meta-analysis evaluated incidence of individual mutations. Extended analyses explored incidence of EGFR and KRAS mutations by ethnicity, histology, and smoking status.
Genes evaluated were TP53, EGFR, KRAS, LKB1, EML4-ALK, PTEN, BRAF, PIK3CA, and ErbB2. The mutMap highlighted mutation coincidences occurring in ≥5% of patients, including TP53 with KRAS or EGFR mutations in patients with ADC, and TP53 with LKB1 mutation in Western patients. TP53 was the most frequently mutated gene overall. Frequencies of TP53, EGFR, KRAS, LKB1, PTEN, and BRAF mutations were influenced by histology and/or ethnicity. Although EGFR mutations were most frequent in patients with ADC and never/light smokers from Asia, and KRAS mutations were most frequent in patients with ADC and ever/heavy smokers from Western countries, both were detected outside these subgroups.
Potential molecular pathology segments of NSCLC were identified. Further studies of mutations in NSCLC are warranted to facilitate more specific diagnoses and guide treatment.
geography; histology; lung cancer; mutation coincidence; oncogenes
Phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) activation involves the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and plays an important role in cell survival signaling in pancreaticobiliary cancer. EGFR gene mutations have been correlated with clinical response to EGFR inhibitors in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer. This study examined the prevalence of PIK3CA and EGFR mutations in pancreaticobiliary cancer where erlotinib, an EGFR inhibitor, is approved for therapy.
Thirty patients who underwent pancreatectomy for pancreaticobiliary carcinoma were identified. Genomic DNA was extracted from formalin fixed paraffin embedded tumor and adjacent normal tissue, and exons 9 and 20 (for the PIK3CA gene) and exons 18-21 (for the EGFR gene) were amplified by PCR and sequenced. Literature review on EGFR and/or PIK3CA mutations in pancreaticobiliary adenocarcinomas was conducted.
No mutations in either PIK3CA or EGFR genes were identified. The study identified one synonymous single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (rs1050171) in the coding region of EGFR. A previously unreported change, suspected to be a SNP, was observed in intron 18 of EGFR (IVS18+15, C>T). Review of the literature showed EGFR mutation rate of 2% and 10.5% in pancreatic and biliary tract carcinomas, respectively. PIK3CA mutations were found in 3.6% and 11.7% of pancreatic and biliary tract carcinomas, respectively.
A low prevalence of EGFR or PIK3CA mutations exists in pancreatic cancer (<5%), indicating that mutation screening may not be as useful in determining prognosis or response to targeted inhibition.
Phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase catalytic subunit (PIK3CA); epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR); mutations; pancreas; biliary; cancer
The employment of anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) antibodies represents a backbone of the therapeutic options for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). However, this therapy is poorly effective or ineffective in unselected patients. Mutations in KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA genes have recently emerged as the best predictive factors of low/absent response to EGFR-targeted therapy. Due to the need for efficacious treatment options for mCRC patients bearing these mutations, in this short report we examined the antitumoral activity of the protease inhibitor gabexate mesilate, alone and in combination with the anti-EGFR monoclonal antibody cetuximab, in a panel of human CRC cell lines harbouring a different expression pattern of wild-type/mutated KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA genes. Results obtained showed that gabexate mesilate significantly inhibited the growth, invasive potential and tumour-induced angiogenesis in all the CRC cells employed in this study (including those ones harbouring dual KRAS/PIK3CA or BRAF/PIK3CA mutation), while cetuximab affected these parameters only in CRC cells with KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA wild-type. Notably, the antitumoral efficacy of gabexate mesilate and cetuximab in combination was found to be not superior than that observed with gabexate mesilate as single agent. Overall, these preliminary findings suggest that gabexate mesilate could represent a promising therapeutic option for mCRC patients, particularly for those harbouring KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA mutations, either as mono-therapy or in addition to standard chemotherapy regimens. Further studies to better elucidate gabexate mesilate mechanism of action in CRC cells are therefore warranted.
Preclinical studies in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) suggest the interaction of PTEN and PI3K affects sensitivity to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). We investigated outcomes in relation to PTEN, PIK3CA and EGFR gene copy number, and chromosome 7 (CEN7) polysomy in NSCLC patients treated with gefitinib.
Fluorescent in situ hybridisation analyses of PTEN, PIK3CA, EGFR and CEN7 were performed on tumour specimens from patients treated on the expanded access gefitinib trial. Progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were correlated with outcomes in all patients and EGFR wild-type patients.
Progression-free survival (hazard ratio=2.54, P<0.001) and OS (hazard ratio=4.04, P<0.001) were significantly shorter in patients whose tumours had all of the following molecular patterns: CEN7 <4 copies per cell, PTEN loss (<2 copies in at least 20% of cells), and PIK3CA gain (>2 copies in at least 40% of cells) both in all and EGFR wild-type only patients.
The combination of low CEN7 copy number, PTEN loss, and PI3KCA gain may be useful for identifying NSCLC patients unlikely to benefit from treatment with EGFR (TKIs), specifically in wild-type EGFR cases.
EGFR; PTEN; PI3KCA; lung cancer; gefitinib
Individual therapy based on various pathohistological types and biological characteristics may be the practical trend of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treatment. To provide a molecular criterion for drug selection, we investigated the incidence of somatic mutation and mRNA expression levels of common genes relevant to treatment response in a population with locally advanced NSCLC. Mutant-enriched and branched DNA-liquidchip technology (bDNA-LCT) were used to detect the somatic mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), KRAS, BRAF and phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase catalytic α (PIK3CA) genes, and mRNA levels of EGFR, ERCC1, class III β-tubulin (TUBB3) and TYMS, separately, in paraffin tissue blocks from 30 patients with stage IIIA NSCLC. Our current findings revealed that 6, 4 and 2 out of 30 samples were found with mutations in exons 19, 21 and 20 of the EGFR gene, respectively. The mutation incidence of exons 19 and 21 had a positive correlation with EGFR mRNA expression. Mutations in exons 12 and 13 of the K-ras gene were found in 2 out of 30, and 1 out of 30 samples, separately. Three out of 30 samples were found with mutations in codon 542 of the PIK3CA gene. No mutations were found in the BRAF gene. The expression levels of ERCC1 and TUBB3 mRNAs were higher in patients with adenocarcinoma than those in patients with squamous cell carcinoma. The expression of TYMS mRNA in patients with adenocarcinoma was lower than that in patients with squamous cell carcinoma. In conclusion, mutations and mRNA expression of these commonly studied genes provides a basis for the selection of suitable molecular markers for individual treatment in a population with locally advanced NSCLC.
gene mutation; expression; treatment response related genes; locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer
PIK3CA encodes the p110α subunit of the mitogenic signaling protein phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K). PIK3CA mutations in the helical binding domain and the catalytic subunit of the protein have been associated with tumorigenesis and treatment resistance in various malignancies. Characteristics of patients with PIK3CA-mutant lung adenocarcinomas have not been reported.
We examined EGFR, KRAS, BRAF, HER2, PIK3CA, AKT1, NRAS, MEK1, and ALK in patients with adenocarcinoma of the lung to identify driver mutations. Clinical data were obtained from the medical records of individuals with mutations in PIK3CA.
Twenty-three of 1125 (2%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1–3%) patients had a mutation in PIK3CA, 12 in Exon 9 (10 E545K, 2 E542K) and 11 in Exon 20 (3 H1047L, 8 H1047R). The patients (57% women) had a median age of 66 at diagnosis (range 34–78). Eight patients (35%) were never smokers. Sixteen of 23 (70%, 95% CI 49 – 86%) had coexisting mutations in other oncogenes - 10 KRAS, 1 MEK1, 1 BRAF, 1 ALK rearrangement, and 3 EGFR exon 19 deletions.
We conclude that PIK3CA mutations occur in lung adenocarcinomas, usually concurrently with EGFR, KRAS, and ALK. The impact of PIK3CA mutations on the efficacy of targeted therapies such as erlotinib and crizotinib is unknown. Given the high frequency of overlapping mutations, comprehensive genotyping should be performed on tumor specimens from patients enrolling on clinical trials of PI3K and other targeted therapies.
lung adenocarcinoma; oncogene; PIK3CA
Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinases (PI3Ks) are a group of lipid kinases that regulate signaling pathways involved in cell proliferation, adhesion, survival, and motility. Even though PIK3CA amplification and somatic mutation have been reported previously in various kinds of human cancers, the genetic change in PIK3CA in human breast cancer has not been clearly identified.
Fifteen breast cancer cell lines and 92 primary breast tumors (33 with matched normal tissue) were used to check somatic mutation and gene copy number of PIK3CA. For the somatic mutation study, we specifically checked exons 1, 9, and 20, which have been reported to be hot spots in colon cancer. For the analysis of the gene copy number, we used quantitative real-time PCR and fluorescence in situ hybridization. We also treated several breast cancer cells with the PIK3CA inhibitor LY294002 and compared the apoptosis status in cells with and without PIK3CA mutation.
We identified a 20.6% (19 of 92) and 33.3% (5 of 15) PIK3CA somatic mutation frequency in primary breast tumors and cell lines, respectively. We also found that 8.7% (8 of 92) of the tumors harbored a gain of PIK3CA gene copy number. Only four cases in this study contained both an increase in the gene copy number and a somatic mutation. In addition, mutation of PIK3CA correlated with the status of Akt phosphorylation in some breast cancer cells and inhibition of PIK3CA-induced increased apoptosis in breast cancer cells with PIK3CA mutation.
Somatic mutation rather than a gain of gene copy number of PIK3CA is the frequent genetic alteration that contributes to human breast cancer progression. The frequent and clustered mutations within PIK3CA make it an attractive molecular marker for early detection and a promising therapeutic target in breast cancer.
To develop gene expression profiles that characterise KRAS-, BRAF- or PIK3CA-activated- tumours, and to explore whether these profiles might be helpful in predicting the response to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) pathway inhibitors better than mutation status alone.
Fresh frozen tumour samples from 381 colorectal cancer (CRC) patients were collected and mutations in KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA were assessed. Using microarray data, three individual oncogenic and a combined model were developed and validated in an independent set of 80 CRC patients, and in a dataset from metastatic CRC patients treated with cetuximab.
175 tumours (45.9%) harboured oncogenic mutations in KRAS (30.2%), BRAF (11.0%) and PIK3CA (11.5%). Activating mutation signatures for KRAS (75 genes), for BRAF (58 genes,) and for PIK3CA (49 genes) were developed. The development of a combined oncogenic pathway signature-classified tumours as ‘activated oncogenic’, or as ‘wildtype-like’ with a sensitivity of 90.3% and a specificity of 61.7%. The identified signature revealed other mechanisms that can activate ERK/MAPK pathway in KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA wildtype patients. The combined signature is associated with response to cetuximab treatment in patients with metastatic CRC (HR 2.51, p<0.0009).
A combined oncogenic pathway signature allows the identification of patients with an active EGFR-signalling pathway that could benefit from downstream pathway inhibition.
Colorectal cancer; KRAS; BRAF; PIK3CA; EGFR-inhibitor resistance; cancer; colorectal metastases; drug resistance; gene expression; molecular oncology; colorectal neoplasia; cancer genetics; cancer syndromes; colorectal adenomas; pancreatic cancer
Bronchopulmonary neuroendocrine tumours (BP-NETs) comprise a large spectrum of tumours including typical carcinoids (TCs), atypical carcinoids (ACs), large-cell neuroendocrine carcinomas (LCNECs) and small-cell lung carcinomas (SCLCs) that exhibit considerably different biological aggressiveness and clinical behaviours. The phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase α catalytic subunit (PIK3CA) gene is known to be involved in the pathogenesis of several types of human cancers through gene amplification, deletions or somatic missense mutations within the helical and catalytic domains. However, the PIK3CA gene status in BP-NETs has yet to be explored. This study aimed to investigate the PIK3CA gene status in a large series of BP-NETs by direct gene sequencing and to analyse its correlation with the main clinicopathological parameters. To the best of our knowledge, we demonstrated for the first time a high frequency of somatic missense mutations (23.2%) in the PIK3CA gene in a series of 190 BP-NETs, including 75 TCs, 23 ACs, 17 LCNECs and 75 SCLCs. The frequency of the PIK3CA gene mutation in the kinase domain was higher (17.9%) than that in the helical domain (5.3%). When the mutational status of the PIK3CA gene was compared with the main clinical and pathological characteristics of the BP-NET patients, we found a significant association between PIK3CA gene mutations and BP-NET histology (P=0.011). Interestingly, the frequency of PIK3CA gene mutations increased with the biological aggressiveness of all BP-NETs, except LCNECs. In conclusion, our results suggest that PIK3CA gene mutations may play a key role in tumourigenesis and aggressiveness of BP-NETs. The PIK3CA gene may represent a favourable candidate for an effective therapeutic strategy in the treatment of patients with BP-NETs.
bronchopulmonary neuroendocrine tumours; PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway; phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase α catalytic subunit mutations; biomarkers
The development of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is a complex, multistep process. To date, numerous oncogenes and tumor-suppressor genes have been implicated in oral carcinogenesis. Of particular interest in this regard are genes involved in cell cycling and apoptosis, such BRAF, KRAS, and PIK3CA genes.
Mutations of BRAF, KRAS, and PIK3CA were evaluated by direct genomic sequencing of exons 1 of KRAS, 11 and 15 of BRAF, and 9 and 20 of PIK3CA in OSCC specimens.
Both BRAF and KRAS mutations were detected with a mutation frequency of 2% (1/42). PIK3CA mutations were detected at 3% (1/35).
This is the first report implicating BRAF mutation in OSCC. Our study supports that mutations in the BRAF, KRAS, and PIK3CA genes make at least a minor contribution to OSCC tumorigenesis, and pathway-specific therapies targeting these two pathways should be considered for OSCC in a subset of patients with these mutations.
BRAF; KRAS; PIK3CA; oncogene mutation; hot-spot mutation; oral squamous cell carcinoma; OSCC
Lung cancers harboring mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) respond to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors, but drug resistance invariably emerges. To elucidate mechanisms of acquired drug resistance, we performed systematic genetic and histological analyses of tumor biopsies from 37 patients with drug-resistant non–small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) carrying EGFR mutations. All drug-resistant tumors retained their original activating EGFR mutations, and some acquired known mechanisms of resistance including the EGFR T790M mutation or MET gene amplification. Some resistant cancers showed unexpected genetic changes including EGFR amplification and mutations in the PIK3CA gene, whereas others underwent a pronounced epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Surprisingly, five resistant tumors (14%) transformed from NSCLC into small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and were sensitive to standard SCLC treatments. In three patients, serial biopsies revealed that genetic mechanisms of resistance were lost in the absence of the continued selective pressure of EGFR inhibitor treatment, and such cancers were sensitive to a second round of treatment with EGFR inhibitors. Collectively, these results deepen our understanding of resistance to EGFR inhibitors and underscore the importance of repeatedly assessing cancers throughout the course of the disease.
As supplement to KRAS mutational analysis, BRAF and PIK3CA mutations as well as expression of PTEN may account for additional non-responders to anti-EGFR-MoAbs treatment. The aim of the present study was to investigate the utility as biomarkers of these mutations in a uniform cohort of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer treated with third-line cetuximab/irinotecan.
One-hundred-and-seven patients were prospectively included in the study. Mutational analyses of KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA were performed on DNA from confirmed malignant tissue using commercially available kits. Loss of PTEN and EGFR was assessed by immunohistochemistry.
DNA was available in 94 patients. The frequency of KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA mutations were 44%, 3% and 14%, respectively. All were non-responders. EGF receptor status by IHC and loss of PTEN failed to show any clinical importance. KRAS and BRAF were mutually exclusive. Supplementing KRAS analysis with BRAF and PIK3CA indentified additional 11% of non-responders. Patient with any mutation had a high risk of early progression, whereas triple-negative status implied a response rate (RR) of 41% (p < 0.001), a disease control (DC) rate of 73% (p < 001), and a significantly higher PFS of 7.7(5.1-8.6 95%CI) versus 2.3 months (2.1-3.695%CI) (p < 0.000).
Triple-negative status implied a clear benefit from treatment, and we suggest that patient selection for third-line combination therapy with cetuximab/irinotecan could be based on triple mutational testing.
metastatic colorectal cancer; KRAS; BRAF; PIK3CA/PTEN mutations; Cetuximab and Irinotecan
Lung cancer has become the top killer among malignant tumors in China and is significantly associated with somatic genetic alterations. We performed exome sequencing of 14 non–small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLCs) with matched adjacent normal lung tissues extracted from Chinese patients. In addition to the lung cancer–related genes (TP53, EGFR, KRAS, PIK3CA, and ROS1), this study revealed “novel” genes not previously implicated in NSCLC. Especially, matrix-remodeling associated 5 was the second most frequently mutated gene in NSCLC (first is TP53). Subsequent Sanger sequencing of matrix-remodeling associated 5 in an additional sample set consisting of 52 paired tumor-normal DNA samples revealed that 15% of Chinese NSCLCs contained somatic mutations in matrix-remodeling associated 5. These findings, together with the results from pathway analysis, strongly indicate that altered extracellular matrix-remodeling may be involved in the etiology of NSCLC.
Recently, antibody-mediated epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) blockade has become a major research focus, and a number of clinical studies on this new treatment have been started in the field of clinical oncology. This retrospective study investigated the role of KRAS gene mutations and clinical features for possibilities for new therapies in patients with cancer of unknown primary (CUP). We investigated the role of KRAS, PIK3CA and BRAF gene mutations and clinical features for possibilities for new therapies in patients with CUP. Nine patients with metastases from an unknown primary tumor were included in this retrospective study. The KRAS, BRAF and PI3KCA mutational analyses were carried out by means of PCR using genomic DNA for each PCR reaction. The mutation rate in CUP for codon 12 or 13 of the KRAS gene and for PIK3CA was lower than that in colorectal cancer, while the same mutation rate for BRAF was almost the same in the two; this means that the EGFR antibodies can possibly treat CUP.
epidermal growth factor receptor; KRAS; cancer of unknown primary
A high frequency of somatic mutations has been found in breast cancers within the gene encoding the catalytic p110α subunit of PI3K, PIK3CA. Using isogenic human breast epithelial cells, we have previously demonstrated that oncogenic PIK3CA “hotspot” mutations predict for response to the toxic effects of lithium. However, other somatic genetic alterations occur within this pathway in breast cancers, and it is possible that these changes may also predict for lithium sensitivity. We overexpressed the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) into the non-tumorigenic human breast epithelial cell line MCF-10A, and compared these cells to isogenic cell lines previously created via somatic cell gene targeting to model Pten loss, PIK3CA mutations, and the invariant AKT1 mutation, E17K. EGFR overexpressing clones were capable of cellular proliferation in the absence of EGF and were sensitive to lithium similar to the results previously seen with cells harboring PIK3CA mutations. In contrast, AKT1 E17K cells and PTEN−/− cells displayed resistance or partial sensitivity to lithium, respectively. Western blot analysis demonstrated that lithium sensitivity correlated with significant decreases in both PI3K and MAPK signaling that were observed only in EGFR overexpressing and mutant PIK3CA cell lines. These studies demonstrate that EGFR overexpression and PIK3CA mutations are predictors of response to lithium, whereas Pten loss and AKT1 E17K mutations do not predict for lithium sensitivity. Our findings may have important implications for the use of these genetic lesions in breast cancer patients as predictive markers of response to emerging PI3K pathway inhibitors.
breast cancer; AKT; PI3K; Pten; EGFR
The epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR TKIs), gefitinib and erlotinib, are reversible competitive inhibitors of the tyrosine kinase domain of EGFR that bind to its adenosine-5′ triphosphate-binding site. Somatic activating mutations of the EGFR gene, increased gene copy number and certain clinical and pathological features have been associated with dramatic tumor responses and favorable clinical outcomes with these agents in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The specific types of activating mutations that confer sensitivity to EGFR TKIs are present in the tyrosine kinase (TK) domain of the EGFR gene. Exon 19 deletion mutations and the single-point substitution mutation L858R in exon 21 are the most frequent in NSCLC and are termed ‘classical’ mutations. The NSCLC tumors insensitive to EGFR TKIs include those driven by the KRAS and MET oncogenes. Most patients who initially respond to gefitinib and erlotinib eventually become resistant and experience progressive disease. The point mutation T790M accounts for about one half of these cases of acquired resistance. Various second-generation EGFR TKIs are currently being evaluated and may have the potential to overcome T790M-mediated resistance by virtue of their irreversible inhibition of the receptor TK domain.
epidermal growth factor receptor; mutation; non-small-cell lung cancer; tyrosine kinase inhibitor; tyrosine kinase
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have become a treatment option in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. However, despite their use in this disease, a significant number of patients will eventually develop resistance and relapse. In this study, we aimed to characterize several molecular events involved in potential resistance mechanisms to anti-EGFR treatment and correlate our findings with clinical outcome.
Material and methods
The medical records of patients with NSCLC who received anti-EGFR TKIs in any line within the participating centers were reviewed and available paraffin embedded tissue was retrieved. Mutational analysis for EGFR, KRAS, BRAF and intron-exon 14 deletions of MET; FISH analysis for chromosomal gain or amplification for EGFR, MET and the deletion marker D7S486 were performed. Furthermore, the expression of EGFR and MET were analysed by immunohistochemistry. All results were correlated with treatment outcomes.
Between 10/2001 and 12/2009 from an initial cohort of 72 treated patients, 59 cases (28 gefitinib/ 31 erlotinib) were included in the analysis. The majority had adenocarcinoma histology (68%), and received treatment in the second line setting (56%). Disease control rate (DCR) was 25.4% for all patients. EGFR and RAS mutational rates were 33% and 10% respectively, no other mutations were identified. High EGFR expressing tumors were found in 7 of 45 cases and pEGFR positivity (IHC) was found in 56% of the cases; MET expression was found in 48% of tumors. EGFR gene amplification was found in 4 cases, two cases showed high polysomy; overall, 13% cases were FISH positive for EGFR. High polysomy of MET gene was detected in 1/43 cases tested. D7S486 locus deletion was detected in 15/37 (40%) of cases. EGFR mutational status and gene gain were both associated with more favorable DCR. No other associations between examined biomarkers and DCR or survival were noted.
EGFR mutational status is a predictor for disease control in patients with NSCLC treated with anti-EGFR TKIs. The predictive role of several other molecules involved in potential resistance to anti-EGFR TKIs is worthy of additional investigation.
Predictive; Somatic mutation; EGFR; Gefitinib; Erlotinib; Response
The mutation status of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is correlated with the response of tumors to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), suggesting its usefulness as a biomarker in NSCLC. The incidence of EGFR mutation in NSCLC is higher in China than in the United States and European countries. There have been some case reports concerning cases of gefitinib-responsive small cell lung cancer (SCLC) with EGFR mutations. However, few large studies concerning the mutation status of SCLC patients have been performed. We detected EGFR mutations in exons 19 and 21 of 40 SCLC patients, three of whom had combined SCLC, from the Zhejiang Cancer Hospital using xTAG technology. Only two patients with combined SCLC had an EGFR mutation in exon 19. To determine the EGFR mutation status and clinical features of combined SCLC, we retrospectively analyzed the clinical features of seven patients with combined SCLC who had undergone surgical treatment in Zhejiang Cancer Hospital between 2007 and 2010. EGFR mutations in exons 19 and 21 were detected using the pyrosequencing assay. Of the seven patients with combined SCLCs, 71.4% were male, 71.4% were heavy smokers, most were over 60 years old and 71.4% of the cases were combined adenocarcinoma. Chemotherapy treatment and tumor stage were correlated with survival time. Of the seven cases, one had a mutation in exon 19 of EGFR in both the conventional SCLC and SCLC combined adenocarcinoma components. Combined SCLC commonly occurs in patients who are heavy smokers, male and over 60 years old, and most of the combined type cases are adenocarcinoma. The treatment of combined SCLC may be applied to cases of conventional SCLC. EGFR mutations may therefore occur in combined SCLCs, especially in SCLC combined adenocarcinoma in China.
epidermal growth factor receptor; gene mutation; pyrosequencing assay technology; combined small cell lung cancer
Mutations of the PIK3CA gene may predict response to phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors. Concomitant mutations in the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway may mediate resistance.
Patients and Methods
Tumors from patients with breast, cervical, endometrial, and ovarian cancer referred to the Clinical Center for Targeted Therapy (Phase I Program) were analyzed for PIK3CA, KRAS, NRAS, and BRAF mutations. Patients with PIK3CA mutations were treated, whenever feasible, with agents targeting the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway.
Of 140 patients analyzed, 25 (18%) had PIK3CA mutations, including five of 14 patients with squamous cell cervical, seven of 29 patients with endometrial, six of 29 patients with breast, and seven of 60 patients with ovarian cancers. Of the 25 patients with PIK3CA mutations, 23 (median of two prior therapies) were treated on a protocol that included a PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway inhibitor. Two (9%) of 23 patients had stable disease for more than 6 months, and seven patients (30%) had a partial response. In comparison, only seven (10%) of 70 patients with the same disease types but with wild-type PIK3CA treated on the same protocols responded (P = .04). Seven patients (30%) with PIK3CA mutations had coexisting MAPK pathway (KRAS, NRAS, BRAF) mutations (ovarian cancer, n = 5; endometrial cancer, n = 2), and two of these patients (ovarian cancer) achieved a response.
PIK3CA mutations were detected in 18% of tested patients. Patients with PIK3CA mutations treated with PI3K/AKT/mTOR inhibitors demonstrated a higher response rate than patients without mutations. A subset of patients with ovarian cancer with simultaneous PIK3CA and MAPK mutations responded to PI3K/AKT/mTOR inhibitors, suggesting that not all patients demonstrate resistance when the MAPK pathway is concomitantly activated.
To investigate PIK3CA mutation in Chinese patients with lung squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC) and explore their relationship with clinicopathological profiles.
Tumor samples from 123 cases of LSCC were included in this study. PIK3CA mutations in exon 9 and 20 were screened by pyrosequencing and confirmed by clone sequencing or amplification refractory mutation system (ARMS). Denaturing performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC) was employed for evaluation of EGFR mutation in exon 19, 21 and KRAS mutation.
PIK3CA mutations were found in 3 (2.4%) patients. The mutation type included E545K, E452Q and H1047R. Of these three patients, one coupled with EGFR mutation, and the other two coupled with PIK3CA amplification. All the three patients shared the same clinicopathologic characteristics: male, less than 60 years old, had smoke history, stage III and carried wild-type KRAS.
The frequency of PIK3CA mutation is low in Chinese patients with LSCC. The mutational status of PIK3CA is not mutually exclusive to EGFR mutation.
Lung squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC); PIK3CA mutation; EGFR mutation; KRAS mutation
As key molecules which drive progression and chemoresistance in gastrointestinal cancers, EGFR and HER2 have become efficacious drug targets in this setting. Lapatinib is an EGFR/HER2 kinase inhibitor suppressing signaling through the RAS/RAF/MEK/MAPK and PI3K/AKT pathways. Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) are a novel class of agents that induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis following the acetylation of histone and non-histone proteins modulating gene expression and disrupting HSP90 function inducing the degradation of EGFR-pathway client proteins. This study sought to evaluate the therapeutic potential of combining lapatinib with the HDACi panobinostat in colorectal cancer (CRC) cell lines with varying EGFR/HER2 expression and KRAS/BRAF/PIK3CA mutations. Lapatinib and panobinostat exerted concentration-dependent antiproliferative effects in vitro (panobinostat range 7.2–30nM; lapatinib range 7.6–25.8μM). Combined lapatinib and panobinostat treatment interacted synergistically to inhibit the proliferation and colony formation in all CRC cell lines tested. Combination treatment resulted in rapid induction of apoptosis that coincided with increased DNA double-strand breaks, caspase-8 activation and PARP cleavage. This was paralleled by decreased signaling through both the PI3K and MAPK pathways and increased downregulation of transcriptional targets including NFκB1, IRAK1 and CCND1. Panobinostat treatment induced downregulation of EGFR, HER2 and HER3 mRNA and protein through transcriptional and post-translational mechanisms. In the LoVo KRAS mutant CRC xenograft model, the combination demonstrated greater antitumor activity than either agent alone, with no apparent increase in toxicity. Our results offer preclinical rationale warranting further clinical investigation combining HDACi with EGFR and HER2-targeted therapies for CRC treatment.
colorectal cancer; lapatinib; LBH589; Panobinostat; EGFR; HER2; KRAS