To determine the proportion of lung adenocarcinomas from East Asian never-smokers who harbor known oncogenic driver mutations.
Patients and Methods
In this surgical series, 52 resected lung adenocarcinomas from never-smokers (< 100 cigarettes in a lifetime) at a single institution (Fudan University, Shanghai, China) were analyzed concurrently for mutations in EGFR, KRAS, NRAS, HRAS, HER2, BRAF, ALK, PIK3CA, TP53 and LKB1.
Forty-one tumors harbored EGFR mutations, three harbored EML4-ALK fusions, two harbored HER2 insertions, and one harbored a KRAS mutation. All mutations were mutually exclusive. Thus, 90% (47 of 52; 95% CI, 0.7896 to 0.9625) of lung adenocarcinomas from never-smokers were found to harbor well-known oncogenic mutations in just four genes. No BRAF, NRAS, HRAS, or LKB1 mutations were detected, while 15 had TP53 mutations. Four tumors contained PIK3CA mutations, always together with EGFR mutations.
To our knowledge, this study represents the first comprehensive and concurrent analysis of major recurrent oncogenic mutations found in a large cohort of lung adenocarcinomas from East Asian never-smokers. Since drugs are now available that target mutant EGFR, HER2, and ALK, respectively, this result indicates that prospective mutation testing in these patients should successfully assign a targeted therapy in the majority of cases.
The EML4-ALK fusion oncogene represents a novel molecular target in a small subset of non–small-cell lung cancers (NSCLC). To aid in identification and treatment of these patients, we examined the clinical characteristics and treatment outcomes of patients who had NSCLC with and without EML4-ALK.
Patients and Methods
Patients with NSCLC were selected for genetic screening on the basis of two or more of the following characteristics: female sex, Asian ethnicity, never/light smoking history, and adenocarcinoma histology. EML4-ALK was identified by using fluorescent in situ hybridization for ALK rearrangements and was confirmed by immunohistochemistry for ALK expression. EGFR and KRAS mutations were determined by DNA sequencing.
Of 141 tumors screened, 19 (13%) were EML4-ALK mutant, 31 (22%) were EGFR mutant, and 91 (65%) were wild type (WT/WT) for both ALK and EGFR. Compared with the EGFR mutant and WT/WT cohorts, patients with EML4-ALK mutant tumors were significantly younger (P < .001 and P = .005) and were more likely to be men (P = .036 and P = .039). Patients with EML4-ALK–positive tumors, like patients who harbored EGFR mutations, also were more likely to be never/light smokers compared with patients in the WT/WT cohort (P < .001). Eighteen of the 19 EML4-ALK tumors were adenocarcinomas, predominantly the signet ring cell subtype. Among patients with metastatic disease, EML4-ALK positivity was associated with resistance to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Patients in the EML4-ALK cohort and the WT/WT cohort showed similar response rates to platinum-based combination chemotherapy and no difference in overall survival.
EML4-ALK defines a molecular subset of NSCLC with distinct clinical characteristics. Patients who harbor this mutation do not benefit from EGFR TKIs and should be directed to trials of ALK-targeted agents.
The EML4-ALK fusion gene has been recently identified in a small subset of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients who respond positively to ALK inhibitors. The characteristics of the EML4-ALK fusion gene in Chinese patients with NSCLC are poorly understood. Here, we report on the prevalence of EML4-ALK, EGFR status and KRAS mutations in 208 Chinese patients with NSCLC. EGFR mutations were found in 24.5% (51/208) of patients. In concordance with previous reports, these mutations were identified at high frequencies in females (47.5% vs 15.0% in males; P<0.05); never-smokers (42.3% vs 13.9% in smokers; P<0.05), and adenocarcinoma patients (44.2% vs 8.0% in non-adenocarcinoma patients; P<0.05). There were only 2.88% (6/208) patients with KRAS mutations in our study group. We identified 7 patients who harbored the EML4-ALK fusion gene (3.37%, 7/208), including 4 cases with variant 3 (57.1%), 2 with variant 1, and 1 with variant 2. All positive cases corresponded to female patients (11.5%, 7/61). Six of the positive cases were non-smokers (7.69%, 6/78). The incidence of EML4-ALK translocation in female, non-smoking adenocarcinoma patients was as high as 15.2% (5/33). No EGFR/KRAS mutations were detected among the EML4-ALK positive patients. Pathological analysis showed no difference between solid signet-ring cell pattern (4/7) and mucinous cribriform pattern (3/7) in ALK-positive patients. Immunostaining showed intratumor heterogeneity of ALK rearrangement in primary carcinomas and 50% (3/6) of metastatic tumors with ALK-negative staining. Meta-analysis demonstrated that EML4-ALK translocation occurred in 4.84% (125/2580) of unselected patients with NSCLC, and was also predominant in non-smoking patients with adenocarcinoma. Taken together, EML4-ALK translocations were infrequent in the entire NSCLC patient population, but were frequent in the NSCLC subgroup of female, non-smoker, adenocarcinoma patients. There was intratumor heterogeneity of ALK rearrangement in primary carcinomas and at metastatic sites.
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
Recently, driver oncogenes in adenocarcinoma of the lung were identified, and several molecular target agents were introduced in the clinical setting. However, there are few reports on the frequency of gene abnormalities in young patients with lung cancer.
Materials and methods
Twelve patients with lung adenocarcinoma aged 40 or younger at Juntendo University Urayasu Hospital or Juntendo University Hospital from July 2004 to March 2010 were analyzed for driver oncogene status including EGFR activating mutation, EML4-ALK fusion gene, and K-ras mutation.
Four patients showed EGFR gene mutation. Five out of 7 EGFR mutation-negative patients showed positive results for EML4-ALK gene fusion. One case whose EGFR mutation was indeterminate.
Driver oncogene including EGFR mutation and EML4-ALK fusion gene was identified in 9 of 12 cases (75%). Examination of gene abnormalities is essential in young patients with non-small cell lung cancer to provide the best treatment.
Young patients; driver oncogene; lung cancer; EGFR; EML4-ALK
Recent evidence suggests that the observed clinical distinctions between lung tumors in smokers and never smokers (NS) extend beyond specific gene mutations, such as EGFR, EML4-ALK, and KRAS, some of which have been translated into targeted therapies. However, the molecular alterations identified thus far cannot explain all of the clinical and biological disparities observed in lung tumors of NS and smokers. To this end, we performed an unbiased genome-wide, comparative study to identify novel genomic aberrations that differ between smokers and NS.
High resolution whole genome DNA copy number profiling of 69 lung adenocarcinomas from smokers (n = 39) and NS (n = 30) revealed both global and regional disparities in the tumor genomes of these two groups. We found that NS lung tumors had a greater proportion of their genomes altered than those of smokers. Moreover, copy number gains on chromosomes 5q, 7p, and 16p occurred more frequently in NS. We validated our findings in two independently generated public datasets. Our findings provide a novel line of evidence distinguishing genetic differences between smoker and NS lung tumors, namely, that the extent of segmental genomic alterations is greater in NS tumors. Collectively, our findings provide evidence that these lung tumors are globally and genetically different, which implies they are likely driven by distinct molecular mechanisms.
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) shows geographic variations in incidence, with high incidences (>50/105 person-years) in central Asia, including North Eastern Iran (Golestan) and Northern India (Kashmir). In contrast to Western countries, smoking does not appear to be a significant risk factor for ESCC in central Asia. In lung adenocarcinoma, activating mutations in the gene encoding epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) are frequent in tumors of never smokers of Asian origin, predicting therapeutic sensitivity to Egfr-targeting drugs.
In this study 152 cases of histologically confirmed ESCC from Iran (Tehran and Golestan Province) and North India (Kashmir Valley) have been analyzed for EGFR mutation by direct sequencing of exons 18–21. Egfr protein expression was evaluated by immunohistochemistry in 34 samples from Tehran and HER2 mutations were analyzed in 54 cases from Kashmir.
A total of 14 (9.2%) EGFR variations were detected, including seven variations in exons. Among those, four (2.6%) were already documented in lung cancers, two were reported as polymorphisms and one was a potentially new activating mutation. All but one variation in introns were previously identified as polymorphisms. Over-expression of Egfr was detected in 22/34 (65%) of tested cases whereas no HER2 mutation was found in 54 cases from Kashmir.
Overall, EGFR mutations appear to be a rare event in ESCC in high incidence areas of central Asia, although a very small proportion of cases may harbor mutations predicting sensitivity to anti-Egfr drugs.
Squamous cell carcinoma; Esophagus; EGFR mutations; Golestan; Kashmir
BRAF mutations occur in non–small-cell lung cancer. Therapies targeting BRAF mutant tumors have recently been identified. We undertook this study to determine the clinical characteristics of patients with lung adenocarcinomas harboring BRAF mutations.
Patients and Methods
We reviewed data from consecutive patients with lung adenocarcinoma whose tumors underwent BRAF, EGFR, and KRAS mutation testing as well as fluorescence in situ hybridization for ALK rearrangements. Patient characteristics including age, sex, race, performance status, smoking history, stage, treatment history, and overall survival were collected.
Among 697 patients with lung adenocarcinoma, BRAF mutations were present in 18 patients (3%; 95% CI, 2% to 4%). The BRAF mutations identified were V600E (50%), G469A (39%), and D594G (11%). Mutations in EGFR were present in 24%, KRAS in 25%, and ALK translocations in 6%. In contrast to patients with EGFR mutations and ALK rearrangements who were mostly never smokers, all patients with BRAF mutations were current or former smokers (P < .001). The median overall survival of advanced-stage patients with BRAF mutations was not reached. In comparison, the median overall survival of patients with EGFR mutations was 37 months (P = .73), with KRAS mutations was 18 months (P = .12), and with ALK rearrangements was not reached (P = .64).
BRAF mutations occur in 3% of patients with lung adenocarcinoma and occur more commonly in current and former smokers. The incidence of BRAF mutations other than V600E is significantly higher in lung cancer than in melanoma.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) - tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) is used for the patients with EGFR-mutant lung cancer. Recently, phase III studies in the patients with EGFR-mutant demonstrated that EGFR-TKI monotherapy improved progression-free survival compared with platinum-doublet chemotherapy. The echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4 (EML4) - anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) fusion oncogene represents one of the newest molecular targets in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Patients who harbor EML4-ALK fusions have been associated with a lack of EGFR or KRAS mutations.
We report a 39-year-old patient diagnosed as adenocarcinoma harboring EGFR mutation and EML4-ALK fusion gene. We treated this patient with erlotinib as the third line therapy, but no clinical benefit was obtained.
We experienced a rare case with EGFR mutation and EML4-ALK. Any clinical benefit using EGFR-TKI was not obtained in our case. The therapeutic choice for the patients with more than one driver mutations is unclear. We needs further understanding of the lung cancer molecular biology and the biomarker infomation.
Lung cancer; EGFR mutation; EML4-ALK; Erlotinib
Hyperactivated ERK signaling is common in human cancer and is often the result of activating mutations in BRAF, RAS and upstream receptor tyrosine kinases. In order to characterize the MEK/ERK dependence of lung cancers harboring BRAF kinase domain mutations, we screened a large panel of human lung cancer cell lines (n= 87) and tumors (n=916) for BRAF mutations. We found that NSCLC cells with both V600E and non-V600E BRAF mutations were selectively sensitive to MEK inhibition, compared to those harboring mutations in EGFR, KRAS, or ALK and ROS kinase fusions. Supporting its classification as a “driver” mutation in the cells in which it is expressed, MEK inhibition in V600EBRAF NSCLC cells led to substantial induction of apoptosis, comparable to that seen with EGFR kinase inhibition in EGFR-mutant NSCLC models. Despite high basal ERK phosphorylation, EGFR-mutant cells were uniformly resistant to MEK inhibition. Conversely, BRAF-mutant cell lines were resistant to EGFR inhibition. These data, together with the non-overlapping pattern of EGFR and BRAF mutations in human lung cancer, suggest that these lesions define distinct clinical entities whose treatment should be guided by prospective real-time genotyping. To facilitate such an effort, we developed a mass spectrometry-based genotyping method for the detection of hot-spot mutations in BRAF, KRAS, and EGFR. Using this assay, we confirmed that BRAF mutations can be identified in a minority of NSCLC tumors, and that patients whose tumors harbor BRAF mutations have a distinct clinical profile compared to those whose tumors harbor kinase domain mutations in EGFR.
BRAF; non-small cell lung cancer; MEK inhibitor; PD0325901; EGFR mutation; gefitinib; erlotinib
Frequencies of EGFR and KRAS mutations in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) have predominantly been determined in East Asian and North American populations, showing large differences between these populations. The aim of the present study was to determine the frequency of EGFR and KRAS mutations in NSCLC in the West European Dutch population in primary carcinomas and different metastatic locations.
EGFR (exons 19, 20 and 21) and KRAS (exons 2 and 3) mutation test results of NSCLC samples of patients in 13 hospitals were collected. The tests were performed on paraffin-embedded tissue or cytological material of primary and metastatic lung carcinomas.
EGFR mutations were detected in 71/778 (9.1 %) tested patients; in 66/620 (10.6 %) adenocarcinomas. EGFR mutations were significantly more often detected in female than in male patients (13.4 % vs. 5.5 %, p < 0.001). KRAS mutations were found in 277 out of 832 (33.3 %) tested patients; in 244/662 (36.9 %) adenocarcinomas. A significantly increased frequency of EGFR mutations was observed in patients with malignant pleural/pericardial effusions (26.5 %; odds ratio (OR) 2.80, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.22–6.41), whereas the frequency of KRAS mutations was significantly decreased (18.8 %; OR 0.35, 95 % CI 0.14–0.86).
In the investigated Dutch cohort, patients with malignant pleural/pericardial effusion of lung adenocarcinoma have an increased frequency of EGFR mutations. The overall frequency of EGFR mutations in lung adenocarcinomas in this West European population is within the frequency range of North American and South European populations, whereas KRAS mutation frequency is higher than in any population described to date.
Non-small cell lung cancer; Adenocarcinoma; EGFR; KRAS; Metastasis; Pleural effusion
Activating mutations in Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) are common in lung adenocarcinoma of never smokers but are rare in other types of cancer. Here we have analysed mutations in exons 19 to 21 of EGFR and in exons 19 and 20 of the EGFR homolog HER2 in 54 cases of Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinomas (ESCC) from patients recruited in Kashmir, India, a region of high incidence for this cancer. We report the detection of 3 mutations (6%) in the ATP-binding regulatory loops of the tyrosine kinase domain of EGFR (deletion 746–750, P753L, G719D). No mutation was found in HER2. This is the first report of activating EGFR mutations in ESCC, of the same type as those detected in lung adenocarcinoma of never-smokers. This suggests that a small proportion of ESCC patients in this high incidence area may benefit from treatment with EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
EGFR; Mutations; Esophageal Cancer; Kashmir
Somatic mutations in the gene for the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) are found in adenocarcinomas of the lung and are associated with sensitivity to the kinase inhibitors gefitinib (Iressa) and erlotinib (Tarceva). Lung adenocarcinomas also harbor activating mutations in the downstream GTPase, KRAS, and mutations in EGFR and KRAS appear to be mutually exclusive.
Methods and Findings
We sought to determine whether mutations in KRAS could be used to further enhance prediction of response to gefitinib or erlotinib. We screened 60 lung adenocarcinomas defined as sensitive or refractory to gefitinib or erlotinib for mutations in EGFR and KRAS. We show that mutations in KRAS are associated with a lack of sensitivity to either drug.
Our results suggest that treatment decisions regarding use of these kinase inhibitors might be improved by determining the mutational status of both EGFR and KRAS.
Mutational analysis of the KRAS gene in lung cancer patients treated with two different kinase inhibitors suggests that tumors with KRAS mutations do not respond to these drugs
In a subset of lung adenocarcinomas the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is activated by kinase domain mutations and/or gene amplification, but the interaction between the two types of abnormalities is complex and unclear. We selected to study 99 consecutive never-smoking women of East Asian origin with lung adenocarcinomas that were characterized by histologic subtype. We analyzed EGFR mutations by PCR-capillary sequencing, EGFR copy number abnormalities by fluorescence and chromogenic in situ hybridization and quantitative PCR, and EGFR expression by immunohistochemistry with both specific antibodies against exon 19 deletion-mutated EGFR and total EGFR. We compared molecular and clinicopathologic features with disease-free survival. Lung adenocarcinomas with EGFR amplification had significantly more EGFR exon 19 deletion mutations than adenocarcinomas with disomy, low and high polysomy (100% v 54%, P=0.009). EGFR amplification occurred invariably on the mutated and not the wildtype allele (median mutated:wildtype ratios 14.0 v .33, P=0.003), was associated with solid histology (P=0.008), and advanced clinical stage (P=0.009). EGFR amplification was focally distributed in lung cancer specimens, mostly in regions with solid histology. Patients with EGFR amplification had a significantly worse outcome in univariate analysis (median disease-free survival 16 v 31 months, P=0.01) and when adjusted for stage (P=0.027). Lung adenocarcinomas with EGFR amplification have a unique association with exon 19 deletion mutations and demonstrate distinct clinicopathologic features associated with a significantly worsened prognosis. In these cases, EGFR amplification is heterogeneously distributed, mostly in areas with a solid histology.
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is overexpressed in the majority of non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) and is a major target for new therapies. Specific EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have been developed and used for the treatment of advanced NSCLC. The clinical response, however, varies dramatically among different patient cohorts. Females, East Asians, non-smokers, and patients with adenocarcinoma usually show higher response rates. Meanwhile, a number of biological factors are also associated with EGFR-TKIs responsiveness. In order to better understand the predictive value of these biomarkers and their significance in clinical application we prepared this brief review. Here we mainly focused on EGFR somatic mutations, MET amplification, K-ras mutations, EGFRvIII mutation, EGFR gene dosage and expression, HER2 gene dosage and expression, and Akt phosphorylation. We think EGFR somatic mutation probably is the most effective molecular predictor for EGFR-TKIs responsiveness and efficacy. Mutation screening test can provide the most direct and valuable guidance for clinicians to make decision on EGFR-TKIs therapy.
non-small cell lung cancer; EGFR; somatic mutation; tyrosine kinase inhibitor; gene amplification
Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) rearrangements, associated with sensitivity to an experimental ALK/MET inhibitor, occur in 3% to 5% of non-small cell lung cancers. Intratumoral fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) heterogeneity has been reported. We explored the heterogeneity basis, the requirements for accurately determining ALK FISH positivity, and the effect of enriching the tested population using clinical and molecular factors.
Lung cancer patients were screened by ALK and MET FISH and for EGFR and KRAS mutations.
Thirteen ALK-positive cases were identified from 73 screened patients. Gene copy number increases occurred together with classic rearrangements. All positive cases were adenocarcinomas, 12 were EGFR/KRAS wild-type, and 1 had a coexistent EGFR exon 20 mutation. No association with MET amplification occurred. ALK positivity was associated with <10-pack-year smoking status (P = 0.0004). Among adenocarcinomas, without KRAS or EGFR mutations, with <10-pack-year history, 44.8% of cases were ALK positive. ALK FISH positivity was heterogeneous, but mean values in tumor areas from ALK-positive patients (54% of cells; range, 22-87%) were significantly higher than in adjacent normal tissue or tumor/ normal areas from ALK-negative patients (mean, 5-7%). Contiguous sliding field analyses showed diffuse heterogeneity without evidence of focal ALK rearrangements. One hundred percent sensitivity and specificity occurred when four or more fields (~60 cells) were counted.
Intratumoral ALK FISH heterogeneity reflects technique, not biology. The clinical activity of ALK/MET inhibitors in ALK-positive patients probably reflects ALK, but not MET, activity. Prescreening by histology, EGFR/KRAS mutations, and smoking status dramatically increases the ALK-positive hit rate compared with unselected series.
KRAS mutations are found in ~ 25% of lung adenocarcinomas in Western countries and, as a group, have been strongly associated with cigarette smoking. These mutations are predictive of poor prognosis in resected disease as well as resistance to treatment with erlotinib or gefitinib.
We determined the frequency and type of KRAS codon 12 and 13 mutations and characterized their association with cigarette smoking history in patients with lung adenocarcinomas.
KRAS mutational analysis was performed on 482 lung adenocarcinomas, 81 (17%) of which were obtained from patients who had never smoked cigarettes. KRAS mutations were found in 15% (12/81; 95% CI 8%-24%) of tumors from never smokers. Similarly, 22% (69/316; 95% CI 17%-27%) of tumors from former smokers, and 25% (21/85; 95% CI 16%-35%) of tumors from current smokers had KRAS mutations. The frequency of KRAS mutation was not associated with age, gender, or smoking history. The number of pack years of cigarette smoking did not predict an increased likelihood of KRAS mutations. Never smokers were significantly more likely than former or current smokers to have a transition mutation (G→A) rather than the transversion mutations known to be smoking related (G→T or G→C; p<0.0001).
Based upon our data, KRAS mutations are not rare among never smokers with lung adenocarcinoma and such patients have a distinct KRAS mutation profile. The etiologic and biological heterogeneity of KRAS mutant lung adenocarcinomas is worthy of further study.
New drugs such as pemetrexed, the epidermal growth factor receptor (egfr) tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and the Alk inhibitor crizotinib have recently enabled progress in the management of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (nsclc). More drugs, especially Met inhibitors, will follow. However, the benefits of these agents are not uniform across the spectrum of nsclc, and optimizing their utility requires some degree of subgrouping of nsclc by the presence or absence of certain biomarkers.
The biomarkers of current or imminent value are EGFR and KRAS mutational status, ALK rearrangements, and MET immunohistochemistry. As a predictor of benefit for anti-egfr monoclonal antibodies, EGFR immunohistochemistry is also of potential interest.
Some of the foregoing biomarkers (EGFR, ALK, MET) are direct drivers of the malignant phenotype. As such, they are, quite rationally, the direct targets of inhibitory drugs. However, KRAS, while definitely a driver, has resisted attempts at direct pharmacologic manipulation, and its main value might lie in its role as part of an efficient testing algorithm, because KRAS mutations appear to exclude EGFR and ALK mutations. The indirect value of KRAS in determining sensitivity to other targeted agents or to pemetrexed remains controversial. The other biomarkers (EGFR, ALK, MET) may also have indirect value as predictors of sensitivity to chemotherapy in general, to pemetrexed specifically, and to radiotherapy and molecularly targeted agents.
These biomarkers have all enabled the co-development of new drugs with companion diagnostics, and they illustrate the paradigm that will govern progress in oncology in the immediate future. However, in nsclc, the acquisition of sufficient biopsy material remains a stubborn obstacle to the evolution of novel targeted therapies.
nsclc; lung cancer; EGFR; ALK; KRAS; prognosis; prediction
EGFR genotyping is now standard in the management of advanced lung adenocarcinoma, as this biomarker predicts marked benefit from treatment with EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). EGFR exon 19 insertions are a poorly described family of EGFR mutations, and their association with EGFR TKI-sensitivity in lung adenocarcinoma is uncertain.
Patients with lung cancers harboring EGFR exon 19 insertions were studied. The predicted effects of the insertions on the structure of the EGFR protein were examined, and EGFR exon 19 insertions were introduced into Ba/F3 cells to assess oncogenicity and in vitro sensitivity to EGFR TKIs. In patients receiving TKI, response magnitude was assessed with serial computed tomography (CT) measurement.
Twelve tumors harboring EGFR exon 19 insertions were identified; patients were predominately female (92%) and never-smokers (75%). The 11 specimens available for full sequencing all demonstrated an 18 bp insertion that resulted in the substitution of a Pro for Leu at residue 747. The mutant EGFR transformed the Ba/F3 cells, which were then sensitive to EGFR TKI. Six patients with measurable disease received TKI and 5 had a response on serial CT.
EGFR exon 19 insertions are a newly appreciated family of EGFR TKI-sensitizing mutations, and patients with tumors harboring these mutations should be treated with EGFR-TKI. While these mutations may be missed through the use of some mutation-specific assays, the addition of PCR product size analysis to multi-gene assays allows sensitive detection of both exon 19 insertion and deletion mutations.
Mutations of the oncogene KRAS are important drivers of pancreatic cancer progression. Activation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and human EGFR2 (HER2) is observed frequent in pancreatic adenocarcinomas. Because of co-activation of these two signaling pathways, we assessed the efficacy of inhibition of EGFR/HER2 receptors and the downstream KRAS effector, mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular-signal regulated kinase (ERK) kinase 1 and 2 (MEK1/2), on pancreatic cancer proliferation in vitro and in a murine orthotopic xenograft model. Treatment of established and patient-derived pancreatic cancer cell lines with the MEK1/2 inhibitor trametinib (GSK1120212) inhibited proliferation, and addition of the EGFR/HER2 inhibitor lapatinib enhanced the inhibition elicited by trametinib in three of eight cell lines. Importantly, in the orthotopic xenograft model, treatment with lapatinib and trametinib resulted in significantly enhanced inhibition of tumor growth relative to trametinib treatment alone in four of five patient-derived tumors tested and was, in all cases, significantly more effective in reducing the size of established tumors than treatment with lapatinib or trametinib alone. Acute treatment of established tumors with trametinib resulted in an increase in AKT2 phosphorylation that was blunted in mice treated with both trametinib and lapatinib. These data indicate that inhibition of the EGFR family receptor signaling may contribute to the effectiveness of MEK1/2 inhibition of tumor growth possibly through the inhibition of feedback activation of receptor tyrosine kinases in response to inhibition of the RAS-RAF-MEK-ERK pathway. These studies provide a rationale for assessing the co-inhibition of these pathways in the treatment of pancreatic cancer patients.
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations were reported in different cancers. However, the nature and role of mtDNA mutation in never-smoker lung cancer patients including patients with EGFR and KRAS gene mutation are unknown. In the present study, we sequenced entire mitochondrial genome (16.5 kb) in matched normal and tumors obtained from 30 never-smoker and 30 current-smoker lung cancer patients, and determined the mtDNA content. All the patients’ samples were sequenced for KRAS (exon 2) and EGFR (exon 19 and 21) gene mutation. The impact of forced overexpression of a respiratory complex-I gene mutation was evaluated in a lung cancer cell line. We observed significantly higher (P=0.006) mtDNA mutation in the never-smokers compared to the current-smoker lung cancer patients. MtDNA mutation was significantly higher (P=0.026) in the never-smoker Asian compared to the current-smoker Caucasian patients’ population. MtDNA mutation was significantly (P=0.007) associated with EGFR gene mutation in the never-smoker patients. We also observed a significant increase (P=0.037) in mtDNA content among the never-smoker lung cancer patients. The majority of the coding mtDNA mutations targeted respiratory complex-I and forced overexpression of one of these mutations resulted in increased in vitro proliferation, invasion and superoxide production in lung cancer cells. We observed a higher prevalence and new relationship between mtDNA alterations among never-smoker lung cancer patients and EGFR gene mutation. Moreover, a representative mutation produced strong growth effects after forced overexpression in lung cancer cells. Signature mtDNA mutations provide a basis to develop novel biomarkers and therapeutic strategies for never-smoker lung cancer patients.
Lung cancer; never-smokers; MtDNA mutation; Respiratory Complex-I; EGFR mutation
The two essential requirements for pathologic specimens in the era of personalized therapies for non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) are accurate subtyping as adenocarcinoma (ADC) versus squamous cell carcinoma (SqCC) and suitability for EGFR molecular testing, as well as for testing of other oncogenes such as EML4-ALK and KRAS. Actually, the value of EGFR expressed in patients with NSCLC in predicting a benefit in terms of survival from treatment with an epidermal growth factor receptor targeted therapy is still in debate, while there is a convincing evidence on the predictive role of the EGFR mutational status with regard to the response to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs).
This is a literature overview on the state-of-the-art of EGFR oncogenic mutation in NSCLC. It is designed to highlight the preclinical rationale driving the molecular footprint assessment, the progressive development of a specific pharmacological treatment and the best method to identify those NSCLC who would most likely benefit from treatment with EGFR-targeted therapy. This is supported by the belief that a rationale for the prioritization of specific regimens based on patient-tailored therapy could be closer than commonly expected.
EGFR targeted therapy; NSCLC; advanced; mutation; TKIs; resistance.
A subset of lung adenocarcinomas harboring an EML4-ALK fusion gene resulting in dominant oncogenic activity has emerged as a target for specific therapy. EML4-ALK fusion confers a characteristic histology and is detected more frequently in never or light smokers and younger patients.
To gain insights into etiology and carcinogenic mechanisms we conducted analyses to compare allelotypes of 35 ALK fusion-positive and 95 -negative tumours using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays and especially designed software which enabled precise global genomic profiling.
Overall aberration numbers (gains + losses) of chromosomal alterations were 8.42 and 9.56 in tumours with and without ALK fusion, respectively, the difference not being statistically significant, although patterns of gain and loss were distinct. Interestingly, among selected genomic regions, oncogene-related examples such as 1p34.3(MYCL1), 7q11.2(EGFR), 7p21.1, 8q24.21(MYC), 16p13.3, 17q12(ERBB2) and 17q25.1 showed significantly less gain. Also, changes in tumour suppressor gene-related regions, such as 9p21.3 (CDKN2A) 9p23-24.1 (PTPRD), 13q14.2 (RB1), were significantly fewer in tumours with ALK fusion.
Global genomic comparison with SNP arrays showed tumours with ALK fusion to have fewer alterations in oncogenes and suppressor genes despite a similar overall aberration frequency, suggesting very strong oncogenic potency of ALK activation by gene fusion.
Lung adenocarcinoma; ALK fusion; SNP array; Allelotype; Copy number
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.
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and its downstream factors KRAS and BRAF are mutated in several types of cancer, affecting the clinical response to EGFR inhibitors. Mutations in the EGFR kinase domain predict sensitivity to the tyrosine kinase inhibitors gefitinib and erlotinib in lung adenocarcinoma, while activating point mutations in KRAS and BRAF confer resistance to the anti-EGFR monoclonal antibody cetuximab in colorectal cancer. The development of new generation methods for systematic mutation screening of these genes will allow more appropriate therapeutic choices.
We describe a high resolution melting (HRM) assay for mutation detection in EGFR exons 19-21, KRAS codon 12/13 and BRAF V600 using formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples. Somatic variation of KRAS exon 2 was also analysed by massively parallel pyrosequencing of amplicons with the GS Junior 454 platform.
We tested 120 routine diagnostic specimens from patients with colorectal or lung cancer. Mutations in KRAS, BRAF and EGFR were observed in 41.9%, 13.0% and 11.1% of the overall samples, respectively, being mutually exclusive. For KRAS, six types of substitutions were detected (17 G12D, 9 G13D, 7 G12C, 2 G12A, 2 G12V, 2 G12S), while V600E accounted for all the BRAF activating mutations. Regarding EGFR, two cases showed exon 19 deletions (delE746-A750 and delE746-T751insA) and another two substitutions in exon 21 (one showed L858R with the resistance mutation T590M in exon 20, and the other had P848L mutation). Consistent with earlier reports, our results show that KRAS and BRAF mutation frequencies in colorectal cancer were 44.3% and 13.0%, respectively, while EGFR mutations were detected in 11.1% of the lung cancer specimens. Ultra-deep amplicon pyrosequencing successfully validated the HRM results and allowed detection and quantitation of KRAS somatic mutations.
HRM is a rapid and sensitive method for moderate-throughput cost-effective screening of oncogene mutations in clinical samples. Rather than Sanger sequence validation, next-generation sequencing technology results in more accurate quantitative results in somatic variation and can be achieved at a higher throughput scale.