Activating mutations in the tyrosine kinase domain of HER2 (ERBB2) have been described in a subset of lung adenocarcinomas (ADCs) and are mutually exclusive with EGFR and KRAS mutations. The prevalence, clinicopathologic characteristics, prognostic implications, and molecular heterogeneity of HER2-mutated lung ADCs are not well established in US patients.
Lung ADC samples (n=1478) were first screened for mutations in EGFR (exons 19 and 21) and KRAS (exon 2) and negative cases were then assessed for HER2 mutations (exons 19–20) using a sizing assay and mass spectrometry. Testing for additional recurrent point mutations in EGFR, KRAS, BRAF, NRAS, PIK3CA, MEK1 and AKT was performed by mass spectrometry. ALK rearrangements and HER2 amplification were assessed by FISH.
We identified 25 cases with HER2 mutations, representing 6% of EGFR/KRAS/ALK-negative specimens. Small insertions in exon 20 accounted for 96% (24/25) of the cases. Compared to insertions in EGFR exon 20, there was less variability, with 83% (20/24) being a 12bp insertion causing duplication of amino acids YVMA at codon 775. Morphologically, 92% (23/25) were moderately or poorly differentiated ADC. HER2 mutation was not associated with concurrent HER2 amplification in 11 cases tested for both. HER2 mutations were more frequent among never-smokers (p<0.0001) but there were no associations with sex, race, or stage.
HER2 mutations identify a distinct subset of lung ADCs. Given the high prevalence of lung cancer worldwide and the availability of standard and investigational therapies targeting HER2, routine clinical genotyping of lung ADC should include HER2.
HER2; ERBB2; lung adenocarcinoma; EGFR; driver oncogenes
We previously demonstrated that stage IIIB/IV non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) never smokers lived 50% longer than former/current smokers. This observation persisted after adjusting for age, performance status, and gender. We hypothesized that smoking-dependent differences in the distribution of driver mutations might explain differences in prognosis between these subgroups.
We reviewed 293 never smokers and 382 former/current smokers with lung adenocarcinoma who underwent testing for EGFR and KRAS mutations and rearrangements in ALK between 2009 and 2010. Clinical outcomes and patient characteristics were collected. Survival probabilities were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Group comparison was performed with log-rank tests and Cox proportional hazards methods.
While the overall incidence of these mutations was nearly identical (55% never smokers vs. 57% current/former smokers, p=0.48), there were significant differences in the distribution of mutations between these groups: EGFR mutations- 37% never smokers vs. 14% former/current smokers (p<0.0001); KRAS mutations- 4% never smokers vs. 43% former/current smokers (p<0.0001); ALK rearrangements- 12% never smokers vs. 2% former/current smokers (p<0.0001). Among never smokers and former/current smokers, prognosis differed significantly by genotype. Patients harboring KRAS mutations demonstrated the poorest survival. Smoking status, however, had no influence on survival within each genotype.
Never smokers and former/current smokers with lung adenocarcinomas are not homogeneous subgroups. Each is made up of individuals whose tumors have a unique distribution of driver mutations which are associated with different prognoses, irrespective of smoking history.
non-small cell lung cancer; adenocarcinoma; EGFR; KRAS; ALK; never smoker
The molecular epidemiology of most EGFR and KRAS mutations in lung cancer remains unclear.
We genotyped 3026 lung adenocarcinomas for the major EGFR (exon 19 deletions and L858R) and KRAS (G12, G13) mutations and examined correlations with demographic, clinical and smoking history data.
EGFR mutations were found in 43% of never smokers (NS) and in 11% of smokers. KRAS mutations occurred in 34% of smokers and in 6% of NS. In patients with smoking histories up to 10 pack-years, EGFR predominated over KRAS. Among former smokers with lung cancer, multivariate analysis showed that, independent of pack-years, increasing smoking-free years raise the likelihood of EGFR mutation. NS were more likely than smokers to have KRAS G>A transition mutation (mostly G12D) (58% vs. 20%, p=0.0001). KRAS G12C, the most common G>T transversion mutation in smokers, was more frequent in women (p=0.007) and these women were younger than men with the same mutation (median 65 vs. 69, p=0.0008) and had smoked less.
The distinct types of KRAS mutations in smokers vs. NS suggest that most KRAS-mutant lung cancers in NS are not due to secondhand smoke exposure. The higher frequency of KRAS G12C in women, their younger age, and lesser smoking history together support a heightened susceptibility to tobacco carcinogens.
lung cancer; tobacco; EGFR; KRAS; molecular epidemiology
Although progression-based endpoints, such as progression-free survival, are often key clinical trial endpoints for anticancer agents, the clinical meaning of “objective progression” is much less certain. As scrutiny of progression-based endpoints in clinical trials increases, it should be remembered that the Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors (RECIST) progression criteria were not developed as a surrogate for survival. Now that progression-free survival has come to be an increasingly important trial endpoint, the criteria that define progression deserve critical evaluation to determine whether alternate definitions of progression might facilitate the development of stronger surrogate endpoints and more meaningful trial results. In this commentary, we review the genesis of the criteria for progression, highlight recent data that question their value as a marker of treatment failure, and advocate for several research strategies that could lay the groundwork for a clinically validated definition of disease progression in solid tumor oncology.
EGFR-mutant lung cancers eventually become resistant to treatment with EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). The combination of EGFR-TKI afatinib and anti-EGFR antibody cetuximab can overcome acquired resistance in mouse models and human patients. Since afatinib is also a potent HER2 inhibitor, we investigated the role of HER2 in EGFR-mutant tumor cells. We show in vitro and in vivo that afatinib plus cetuximab significantly inhibits HER2 phosphorylation. HER2 overexpression or knockdown confers resistance or sensitivity, respectively, in all studied cell line models. Fluorescent in situ hybridization analysis revealed that HER2 was amplified in 12% of tumors with acquired resistance versus only 1% of untreated lung adenocarcinomas. Notably, HER2 amplification and EGFR T790M were mutually exclusive. Collectively, these results reveal a previously unrecognized mechanism of resistance to EGFR TKIs and provide a rationale to assess the status and possibly target HER2 in EGFR mutant tumors with acquired resistance to EGFR TKIs.
EGFR mutations; lung cancer; EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors; erlotinib; afatinib; cetuximab; HER2 amplification; EGFR T790M; acquired resistance
Pulmonary large cell carcinoma - a diagnostically and clinically controversial entity - is defined as a non-small cell carcinoma lacking morphologic differentiation as either adenocarcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma, but suspected to represent an end-stage of poor differentiation of these tumor types. Given the recent advances in immunohistochemistry to distinguish adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, and the recent insights that several therapeutically-relevant genetic alterations are distributed differentially in these tumors, we hypothesized that immunophenotyping may stratify large cell carcinomas into subsets with distinct profiles of targetable driver mutations. We therefore analyzed 102 large cell carcinomas by immunohistochemistry for TTF-1 and ΔNp63/p40 as classifiers for adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, respectively, and correlated the resulting subtypes with 9 therapeutically-relevant genetic alterations characteristic of adenocarcinoma (EGFR, KRAS, BRAF, MAP2K1/MEK1, NRAS, ERBB2/HER2 mutations and ALK rearrangements) or more common in squamous cell carcinoma (PIK3CA and AKT1 mutations). The immunomarkers classified large cell carcinomas as variants of adenocarcinoma (n=62; 60%), squamous cell carcinoma (n=20; 20%), or marker-null (n=20; 20%). Genetic alterations were found in 38 cases (37%), including EGFR (n=1), KRAS (n=30), BRAF (n=2), MAP2K1 (n=1), ALK (n=3) and PIK3CA (n=1). All molecular alterations characteristic of adenocarcinoma occurred in tumors with immunoprofiles of adenocarcinoma or marker-null, but not in tumors with squamous immunoprofiles (combined mutation rate 50% vs 30% vs 0%, respectively; P<0.001), whereas the sole PIK3CA mutation occurred in a tumor with squamous profile (5%). Furthermore, marker-null large cell carcinomas were associated with significantly inferior disease-free (P<0.001) and overall (P=0.001) survival. In conclusion, the majority (80%) of large cell carcinomas can be classified by immunomarkers as variants of adenocarcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma, which stratifies these tumors into subsets with a distinct distribution of driver mutations and distinct prognoses. These findings have practical implications for diagnosis, predictive molecular testing and therapy selection.
large cell carcinoma; TTF-1; ΔNp63/p40; EGFR; KRAS; ALK
Patients with stage IV lung adenocarcinoma and EGFR mutation derive clinical benefit from treatment with EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI). Whether treatment with TKI improves outcomes in patients with resected lung adenocarcinoma and EGFR mutation is unknown.
Data were analyzed from a surgical database of patients with resected lung adenocarcinoma harboring EGFR exon 19 or 21 mutations. In a multivariate analysis, we evaluated the impact of treatment with adjuvant TKI.
The cohort consists of 167 patients with completely resected stage I–III lung adenocarcinoma. 93 patients (56%) had exon 19 del, 74 patients (44%) had exon 21 mutations, 56 patients (33%) received perioperative TKI. In a multivariate analysis controlling for sex, stage, type of surgery and adjuvant platinum chemotherapy, the 2-year DFS was 89% for patients treated with adjuvant TKI compared with 72% in control group (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.53; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.28 to 1.03; p = 0.06). The 2-year OS was 96% with adjuvant EGFR TKI and 90% in the group that did not receive TKI (HR 0.62; 95% CI 0.26 to 1.51; p = 0.296).
Compared to patients who did not receive adjuvant TKI, we observed a trend toward improvement in disease free survival among individuals with resected stages I–III lung adenocarcinomas harboring mutations in EGFR exons 19 or 21 who received these agents as adjuvant therapy. Based on these data, 320 patients are needed for a randomized trial to prospectively validate this DFS benefit.
Treatment of patients with oncogene-addicted cancers with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) is biologically and clinically different than with cytotoxic chemotherapy. We have observed that some patients with EGFR-mutant lung cancer and acquired resistance to erlotinib or gefitinib (RECIST progression after initial benefit) have accelerated progression of disease after discontinuation of TKI. To examine this observation and define the course of patients following TKI discontinuation, we systematically evaluated patients enrolled on clinical trials of agents to treat acquired resistance to erlotinib or gefitinib.
We evaluated patients with EGFR-mutant lung cancer who participated in trials for patients with acquired resistance which mandated TKI discontinuation prior to administration of study therapy. Disease flare was defined as hospitalization or death attributable to disease progression during the “washout” period.
Fourteen of 61 patients (23%; 95% CI 14-35%) experienced a disease flare. The median time to disease flare after TKI discontinuation was 8 days (range 3-21). Factors associated with disease flare included shorter time to progression on initial TKI (p=0.002) and the presence of pleural (p=0.03) or CNS disease (p=0.01). There was no association between disease flare and the presence of T790M at the time of acquired resistance.
In patients with EGFR-mutant lung cancer and acquired resistance to EGFR TKIs, discontinuation of erlotinib or gefitinib prior to initiation of study treatment is associated with a clinically significant risk of accelerated disease progression. Clinical trials in this patient population must minimize protocol mandated washout periods.
EGFR; adenocarcinoma of lung; drug resistance
We undertook this phase II study to measure postoperative drug delivery and toxicity of cisplatin plus docetaxel in patients with resected stage I-III non-small cell lung cancer.
The primary endpoint was amount of cisplatin delivered over a planned four cycles of adjuvant chemotherapy. Statistical design required a cohort to close if the regimen proved unlikely to improve cisplatin delivery compared with published phase III data. The first cohort was treated with docetaxel 35 mg/m2 intravenously (IV) on days 1, 8, and 15, and cisplatin 80 mg/m2 IV on day 15, every 4 weeks for four planned cycles. A second cohort was treated with docetaxel 75 mg/m2 IV plus cisplatin 80 mg/m2 IV on day 1 every 3 weeks for four planned cycles.
Sixteen patients were treated with weekly docetaxel and cisplatin every 4 weeks, with five of 16 (31%) unable to complete three cycles. Subsequently, 11 patients were treated with docetaxel and cisplatin every 3 weeks, with six of 11 (55%) unable to complete three cycles. Among the 11 patients who failed to complete three cycles, the reasons for stopping included one or more of the following: fatigue (n = 8), nausea (n = 4), febrile neutropenia (n = 1), hypotension (n = 1), and nephrotoxicity (n = 1).
The combination of cisplatin at 80 mg/m2 with docetaxel 35 mg/m2 weekly or 75 mg/m2 every 3 weeks is no better tolerated than older chemotherapy regimens. The most common reason to stop chemotherapy was intolerable fatigue. These results suggest that the most common dose-limiting toxicities are attributable to the cisplatin, given similar problems were encountered whether the docetaxel was delivered as a single dose every 3 weeks or as a lower weekly dose.
Non-small cell lung cancer; Adjuvant chemotherapy; Cisplatin; Docetaxel
We previously reported data on the safety, tolerability, and recommended phase II dose of obatoclax mesylate in conjunction with topotecan in patients with advanced solid tumor malignancies. Preliminary efficacy data suggested activity in patients with recurrent small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Based on these data, we performed a phase II study of obatoclax mesylate plus topotecan in patients with relapsed SCLC to assess efficacy.
This was an open-label, single-arm, phase II extension of obatoclax mesylate plus topotecan in patients with relapsed SCLC. Obatoclax mesylate was given intravenously (IV) at a dose of 14 mg/m2 on days 1 and 3 with IV topotecan at 1.25 mg/m2 on days 1–5 of an every 3-week cycle. The primary end-point of this study was overall response rate.
Nine patients with recurrent SCLC were enrolled into the first stage of the study. Patients received a median of 2 cycles of treatment. All patients were evaluable for the primary end-point of overall response. There were no partial or complete responses. Five patients (56%) had stable disease. The remaining four patients (44%) developed progressive disease. The most common grade 3 or 4 adverse events included thrombocytopenia (22%), anemia (11%), neutropenia (11%), and ataxia (11%).
Obatoclax mesylate added to topotecan does not exceed the historic response rate seen with topotecan alone in patients with relapsed SCLC following the first-line platinum-based therapy.
Obatoclax mesylate; Topotecan; Small cell lung cancer (SCLC); Apoptosis
The purpose of this study was to prospectively compare the adequacy of core needle biopsy specimens with the adequacy of specimens from resected tissue, the histologic reference standard, for mutational analysis of malignant tumors of the lung.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS
The first 18 patients enrolled in a phase 2 study of gefitinib for lung cancer in July 2004 through August 2005 underwent CT- or fluoroscopy-guided lung biopsy before the start of gefitinib therapy. Three weeks after gefitinib therapy, the patients underwent lung tumor resection. The results of EGFR and KRAS mutational analysis of the core needle biopsy specimens were compared with those of EGFR and KRAS mutational analysis of the surgical specimens.
Two specimens were unsatisfactory for mutational analysis. The results of mutational assay results of the other 16 specimens were the same as those of analysis of the surgical specimens obtained an average of 31 days after biopsy.
Biopsy with small (18- to 20-gauge) core needles can yield sufficient and reliable samples for mutational analysis. This technique is likely to become an important tool with the increasing use of pharmacotherapy based on the genetics of specific tumors in individual patients.
biopsy; lung cancer; molecular typing; personalized medicine; targeted therapy
Development of acquired resistance limits the utility of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) for the treatment of EGFR mutant lung cancers. There are no accepted, targeted therapies for use after acquired resistance develops. Metastasectomy is used in other cancers to manage oligometastatic disease. We hypothesized that local therapy is associated with improved outcomes in patients EGFR mutant lung cancers with acquired resistance to EGFR TKI.
Patients who received non-CNS local therapy were identified by a review of data from a prospective biopsy protocol for patients with EGFR-mutant lung cancers with acquired resistance to EGFR TKI therapy and other institutional biospecimen registry protocols.
Eighteen patients were identified that received elective local therapy (surgical resection, radiofrequency ablation or radiation). Local therapy was well-tolerated, with 85% of patients restarting TKI therapy within one month of local therapy. The median time to progression after local therapy was 10 months (95% Confidence interval [CI]: 2 to 27 months). The median time until a subsequent change in systemic therapy was 22 months (95% CI: 6 to 30 months). The median overall survival from local therapy was 41 months (95% CI: 26 to not reached).
EGFR- mutant lung cancers with acquired resistance to EGFR TKI therapy are amenable to local therapy to treat oligometastatic disease when used in conjunction with continued EGFR inhibition. Local therapy followed by continued treatment with an EGFR TKI is well tolerated, and associated with long PFS and OS. Further study in selected individuals in the context of other systemic options is required.
EGFR mutations underlie the sensitivity of lung cancers to erlotinib and gefitinib and can occur in any patient with this illness. Here we examine the frequency of EGFR mutations in smokers and men.
We determined the frequency of EGFR mutations and characterized their association with cigarette smoking status and male sex.
We tested 2,142 lung adenocarcinoma specimens for the presence of EGFR exon 19 deletions and L858R. EGFR mutations were found in 15% of tumors from former smokers (181 of 1,218; 95% CI, 13% to 17%), 6% from current smokers (20 of 344; 95% CI, 4% to 9%), and 52% from never smokers (302 of 580; 95% CI, 48% to 56%; P < .001 for ever v never smokers). EGFR mutations in former or current smokers represented 40% of all those detected (201 of 503; 95% CI, 36% to 44%). EGFR mutations were found in 19% (157 of 827; 95% CI, 16% to 22%) of tumors from men and 26% (346 of 1,315; 95% CI, 24% to 29%) of tumors from women (P < .001). EGFR mutations in men represented 31% (157 of 503; 95% CI, 27% to 35%) of all those detected.
A large number of EGFR mutations are found in adenocarcinoma tumor specimens from men and people who smoked cigarettes. If only women who were never smokers were tested, 57% of all EGFR mutations would be missed. Testing for EGFR mutations should be considered for all patients with adenocarcinoma of the lung at diagnosis, regardless of clinical characteristics. This strategy can extend the use of EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors to the greatest number individuals with the potential for substantial benefit.
In patients with resected lung cancer, sarcomatoid carcinomas are reputed to carry a worse prognosis. Although generally felt to be chemo-refractory, little data is available about chemotherapy in these patients. We sought to determine the effect of perioperative chemotherapy in patients with completely resected sarcomatoid carcinomas of the lung.
We reviewed the pathology reports of 4,675 consecutively resected patients at Memorial Sloan-Kettering between 2000–2010. Charts and images were reviewed for patients with a histological diagnosis of sarcomatoid carcinoma. Response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy was assessed radiographically. Kaplan-Meier disease free probability (DFP) curves were compared for patients who did and did not received perioperative chemotherapy, stratified by pathological stage.
Of the 4675 patients who underwent an R0 lung cancer resection, 56 were diagnosed with sarcomatoid carcinomas (1%). Twenty received neoadjuvant and/or adjuvant chemotherapy. Overall radiographic response rate (minor + major) to neoadjuvant chemotherapy was 73% (95% CI 48–90%) in the 15 evaluable patients. The median DFP of patients who received chemotherapy was 34 months versus 12 months in those who did not (p=0.37). Subset analysis did not reveal a benefit to perioperative chemotherapy in patients with stage Ib-IIa, whereas a benefit was seen in patients with IIb-IIIa disease (p=0.02).
While sarcomatoid carcinomas are felt to be chemo-refractory, our results demonstrate radiographic responses to neoadjuvant chemotherapy and an improvement in DFP in patients with stage IIb-IIIa disease. The use of pathological stage in this analysis may underestimate this benefit. Perioperative chemotherapy should be considered in these patients.
Pulmonary sarcomatoid carcinoma; non-small cell lung cancer; adjuvant chemotherapy; neoadjuvant chemotherapy
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.
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
Paclitaxel is an effective therapy for patients with solid tumors. While the albumin-bound formulation eliminates the hypersensitivity reaction caused by the Cremaphor solvent, significant peripheral neuropathy persists when given over the standard 30-minute infusion time. We sought to determine if the incidence and severity of peripheral neuropathy could be reduced when the infusion time is lengthened to 2-hours.
This was an open-label, single-arm, phase 2 study of albumin-bound paclitaxel given over 2-hours. Twenty-five patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer were enrolled to determine whether the longer infusion reduced the severity of neuropathy compared to data from an earlier cohort of 40 similar patients treated over 30-minutes. Patients received 125 mg/m2 of albumin-bound paclitaxel IV over 2-hours without premedication on days 1, 8, and 15 of a 28-day cycle. Radiologic assessment was performed every 8 weeks.
There was a significant 0.45 grade decrease in average peripheral neuropathy experienced by patients in the 2-hour group versus the 30-minute group (90% CI 0.03–0.87). There was, in addition, a significant decrease in grade ≥ 2 peripheral neuropathy in patients treated over 2-hours versus 30-minutes (28% vs. 55%, 2-sided P = .04). A decrease in grade ≥ 2 neutropenia (20% vs. 48%, 2-sided P = .07) was also observed. The median survival, 11 months, was the same for both groups.
Increasing the infusion time of albumin-bound paclitaxel from 30-minutes to 2-hours resulted in a significant reduction in both average and grade ≥ 2 peripheral neuropathy without affecting survival.
albumin-bound paclitaxel; abraxane; neuropathy; non-small cell lung cancer
There is persistent controversy as to whether EGFR/KRAS mutations occur in pulmonary squamous cell carcinoma (SQCC). We hypothesized that the reported variability may reflect difficulties in the pathologic distinction of true SQCC from adenosquamous carcinoma (AD-SQC) and poorly-differentiated adenocarcinoma (ADC) due to incomplete sampling or morphologic overlap. The recent development of a robust immunohistochemical approach for distinguishing squamous vs glandular differentiation provides an opportunity to reassess EGFR/KRAS and other targetable kinase mutation frequencies in a pathologically homogeneous series of SQCC.
Ninety-five resected SQCC, verified by immunohistochemistry as ΔNp63+/TTF-1−, were tested for activating mutations in EGFR, KRAS, BRAF, PIK3CA, NRAS, AKT1, ERBB2/HER2, and MAP2K1/MEK1. Additionally, all tissue samples from rare patients with the diagnosis of EGFR/KRAS-mutant “SQCC” encountered during5 years of routine clinical genotyping were reassessed pathologically.
The screen of 95biomarker-verified SQCC revealed no EGFR/KRAS (0%; 95%CI 0–3.8%), 4 PIK3CA (4%; 95% CI 1–10%) and 1 AKT1 (1%; 95% CI 0–5.7%) mutations. Detailed morphologic and immunohistochemical reevaluation of EGFR/KRAS-mutant SQCC” identified during clinical genotyping (n=16) resulted in reclassification of 10 (63%)cases as AD-SQC and 5 (31%) cases as poorly-differentiated ADC morphologically mimicking SQCC (i.e. ADC with “squamoid” morphology). One (6%) case had no follow-up.
Our findings suggest that EGFR/KRAS mutations do not occur in pure pulmonary SQCC, and occasional detection of these mutations in samples diagnosed as “SQCC” is due to challenges with the diagnosis of AD-SQC and ADC, which can be largely resolved by comprehensive pathologic assessment incorporating immunohistochemical biomarkers.
EGFR; KRAS; TTF-1; p63; squamous cell carcinoma
EGFR mutant lung cancers are sensitive to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Unfortunately, they develop resistance, often due to acquisition of a second-site mutation (T790M). Current EGFR TKIs select for T790M in preclinical models of acquired resistance. We explored whether all EGFR TKIs similarly select for the T790M mutation using data from early clinical trials and established in vitro models of acquired resistance.
We analyzed the clinical characteristics of 8 patients with metastatic EGFR mutant lung adenocarcinoma who were treated first-line with XL647 and then progressed. XL647 is an ATP-competitive inhibitor of EGFR, HER2, KDR, and EPHB4. Additional molecular preclinical studies were performed to characterize resistance.
Four patients displayed confirmed partial responses (PRs), three patients had unconfirmed PRs, and one patient displayed stable disease. Only one of five patients’ tumor samples available for analysis after disease progression harbored the T790M mutation. Eight patients subsequently received erlotinib, with (n=3) or without (n=5) chemotherapy. Three of five patients treated with single agent erlotinib derived additional benefit, staying on drug up to 9 months. EGFR mutant PC-9 cells with acquired resistance to XL647 did not harbor the T790M mutation, displayed a distinct mRNA profile from PC-9 cells with T790M-mediated resistance, and were moderately sensitive to erlotinib in growth inhibition assays. Crystal structure analyses of XL647/EGFR T790M did not reveal a different binding mode from that of erlotinib.
The findings of this exploratory study suggest different EGFR TKIs may select for distinct mechanisms of resistance. These results raise the possibility that different EGFR TKIs could be sequentially used to improve outcomes in patients with EGFR mutant lung cancer. Further work investigating this hypothesis is warranted.
non-small cell lung cancer; EGFR mutations; XL647; EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors; acquired resistance; gefitinib; erlotinib; afatinib
Erlotinib is effective for epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutant lung cancer, but CNS penetration at standard daily dosing is limited. We previously reported that intermittent “pulsatile” administration of high-dose (1500 mg) erlotinib once weekly was tolerable and achieved concentrations in cerebrospinal fluid exceeding the half maximal inhibitory concentration for EGFR mutant lung cancer cells in a patient with leptomeningeal metastases; we now expand this paradigm to a series of 9 patients. We retrospectively identified patients with EGFR mutant lung cancer treated with pulsatile erlotinib for CNS metastases (brain and/or leptomeningeal) that occurred despite conventional daily erlotinib or other EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Mutations in available lung and CNS tissue were correlated with efficacy. Erlotinib was administered as monotherapy at a median dose of 1500 mg weekly. Best CNS radiographic response was partial in 67% (6/9, including 2 with isolated leptomeningeal metastases), stable disease in 11% (1/9), and progressive disease in 22% (2/9). Median time to CNS progression was 2.7 months (range, 0.8–14.5 months) and median overall survival was 12 months (range, 2.5 months–not reached). Treatment was well tolerated. No acquired resistance mutations in EGFR were identified in the CNS metastases of 4 patients, including 1 harboring T790M outside the CNS. Pulsatile erlotinib can control CNS metastases from EGFR mutant lung cancer after failure of standard daily dosing. CNS disease may not harbor acquired resistance mutations that develop systemically. A prospective trial is planned.
CNS metastases; EGFR; erlotinib; lung cancer; pulsatile dosing
Non–small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) that harbor mutations within the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene are sensitive to the tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) gefitinib and erlotinib. Unfortunately, all patients treated with these drugs will acquire resistance, most commonly as a result of a secondary mutation within EGFR (T790M). Because both drugs were developed to target wild-type EGFR, we hypothesized that current dosing schedules were not optimized for mutant EGFR or to prevent resistance. To investigate this further, we developed isogenic TKI-sensitive and TKI-resistant pairs of cell lines that mimic the behavior of human tumors. We determined that the drug-sensitive and drug-resistant EGFR-mutant cells exhibited differential growth kinetics, with the drug-resistant cells showing slower growth. We incorporated these data into evolutionary mathematical cancer models with constraints derived from clinical data sets. This modeling predicted alternative therapeutic strategies that could prolong the clinical benefit of TKIs against EGFR-mutant NSCLCs by delaying the development of resistance.
Given the unprecedented efficacy of EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) in advanced EGFR-mutant lung cancer, adjuvant TKI therapy is an appealing strategy. However, there are conflicting findings regarding the potential benefit of adjuvant EGFR-TKI in patients with lung cancer harboring EGFR mutations. To better understand these results, we studied the natural history of lung cancers which recurred despite adjuvant TKI.
Patients with recurrent EGFR-mutant lung cancer following adjuvant TKI were identified using an IRB approved mechanism. Recurrent cancer specimens were tested for resistance mutations. Sensitivity to re-treatment with EGFR-TKI was evaluated.
Twenty-two patients with cancers harboring an EGFR sensitizing mutation received adjuvant erlotinib or gefitinib for a median of 17 months (range 1–37 months). T790M was more common in cancers which recurred while receiving TKI than in those which recurred after stopping TKI (67% vs. 0%, p=0.011). Fourteen patients who developed recurrence after stopping EGFR-TKI were re-treated, with a median time to progression of 10 months and radiographic response seen in 8 of 11 patients with evaluable disease (73%).
Recurrence of EGFR-mutant lung cancer after stopping adjuvant TKI should not preclude a trial of TKI re-treatment; a phase II trial of erlotinib in this setting is underway. Studies of adjuvant EGFR-TKI will underestimate the potential survival benefit of adjuvant TKI for patients with EGFR-mutant lung cancers if re-treatment at recurrence is not given.
Non-small cell lung cancer; adjuvant; EGFR; tyrosine kinase inhibitor; T790M
We use changes in tumor measurements to assess response and progression, both in routine care and as the primary objective of clinical trials. However, the variability of computed tomography (CT) –based tumor measurement has not been comprehensively evaluated. In this study, we assess the variability of lung tumor measurement using repeat CT scans performed within 15 minutes of each other and discuss the implications of this variability in a clinical context.
Patients and Methods
Patients with non–small-cell lung cancer and a target lung lesion ≥ 1 cm consented to undergo two CT scans within a period of minutes. Three experienced radiologists measured the diameter of the target lesion on the two scans in a side-by-side fashion, and differences were compared.
Fifty-seven percent of changes exceeded 1 mm in magnitude, and 33% of changes exceeded 2 mm. Median increase and decrease in tumor measurements were +4.3% and −4.2%, respectively, and ranged from 23% shrinkage to 31% growth. Measurement changes were within ± 10% for 84% of measurements, whereas 3% met criteria for progression according to Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST; ≥ 20% increase). Smaller lesions had greater variability of percent measurement change (P = .005).
Apparent changes in tumor diameter exceeding 1 to 2 mm are common on immediate reimaging. Increases and decreases less than 10% can be a result of the inherent variability of reimaging. Caution should be exercised in interpreting the significance of small changes in lesion size in the care of individual patients and in the interpretation of clinical trial results.
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.