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.
Akt activation by the IGF-1 receptor (IGF-1R) has been posited to be a mechanism of intrinsic resistance to mTORC1 inhibitors ("rapalogues") for sarcomas. Here we demonstrate that rapamycin-induced phosphorylation of Akt can occur in an IGF-1R-independent manner. Analysis of synovial sarcoma cell lines demonstrated that either the IGF-1R or the PDGF receptor alpha (PDGFRA) could mediate intrinsic resistance to rapamycin. Repressing expression of PDGFRA or inhibiting its kinase activity in synovial sarcoma cells blocked rapamycin-induced phosphorylation of Akt and decreased tumor viability. Expression profiling of clinical tumor samples revealed that PDGFRA was the most highly expressed kinase gene among several sarcoma disease subtypes, suggesting that PDGFRA may be uniquely significant for synovial sarcomas. Tumor biopsy analyses from a synovial sarcoma patient treated with the mTORC1 inhibitor everolimus and PDGFRA inhibitor imatinib mesylate confirmed that this drug combination can impact both mTORC1 and Akt signals in vivo. Together, our findings define mechanistic variations in the intrinsic resistance of synovial sarcomas to rapamycin and suggest therapeutic strategies to address them.
mTOR; rapamycin; PDGFR; synovial sarcoma
Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a highly lethal cancer with limited therapeutic options. Recent work has identified frequent inactivation of two tumor suppressor genes in MPM-- NF2 (Neurofibromatosis type 2) and BAP1 (BRCA associated protein 1). Additionally, germline mutations in BAP1 have been identified and an associated cancer syndrome which includes MPM, ocular melanoma and other cancers has been described. These recent advances may allow screening of high risk individuals and the development of new therapies that target key pathways in MPM.
Mesothelioma; BAP1; NF2
Ewing sarcoma family tumors (ESFT) are aggressive tumors of putative stem cell origin for which prognostic biomarkers and novel treatments are needed. In several human cancers high expression of the polycomb protein BMI-1 is associated with poor outcome. We have assessed the potential clinical significance of BMI-1 expression level in ESFT.
BMI-1 expression was assessed in 130 tumors by immunostaining and associations with clinical features and outcome determined. The molecular signatures of BMI-1-low and BMI-1-high tumors were compared using microarrays and differentially activated canonical pathways identified by gene specific enrichment analysis. Automated quantitative analysis (AQUA) of phospho-proteins was used to assess relative levels of pathway activation. Sensitivity to IGF1-R inhibition was determined using MTS (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium) assays.
BMI-1 is over-expressed by the vast majority of ESFT. However, in 20% of cases BMI-1 levels are low to undetectable. Significantly, although clinical presentation and outcome were similar between BMI-1-high and BMI-1-low tumors, whole genome expression array analysis showed marked differences in their respective gene expression profiles. Gene specific enrichment analysis identified that several cancer-associated canonical biologic pathways, including IGF1, mTOR and WNT are significantly down-regulated in BMI-1-low compared to BMI-1-high tumors. Consistent with these in vivo data, the response to IGF1-R inhibition in vitro was diminished in BMI-1-low compared to BMI-1-high ESFT cells.
ESFT that do not over-express BMI-1 represent a novel subclass with a distinct molecular profile and altered activation of and dependence on cancer-associated biologic pathways.
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
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is a soft tissue sarcoma categorized into two major subtypes: alveolar RMS (ARMS) and embryonal RMS (ERMS). Most ARMS express the PAX3-FOXO1 (P3F) fusion oncoprotein generated by the 2;13 chromosomal translocation. In the present study, the downstream target genes of P3F were identified by analyzing two independent sets of gene expression profiles: primary RMS tumors and RD ERMS cells transduced with inducible P3F constructs. We found 34 potential target genes (27 upregulated and 7 downregulated) that were significantly and differentially expressed between P3F-positive and P3F-negative categories, both in primary RMS tumors and in the inducible P3F cell culture system. Gene ontology analysis of microarray data of the inducible P3F cell culture system employed indicated apoptosis, cell death, development, and signal transduction as overrepresented significant functional categories found in both upregulated and downregulated genes. Therefore, among the 34 potential target genes, the expression of cell death-related [Gremlin1, cysteine knot superfamily 1, BMP antagonist 1 (GREM1) and death-associated protein kinase 1 (DAPK1)] and development-related [myogenic differentiation 1 (MYOD1) and hairy/enhancer-of-split related with YRPW motif 1 (HEY1)] genes were further investigated. The differential expression of GREM1, DAPK1, MYOD1 and HEY1 was confirmed in independent tumors and inducible cell culture systems. The expression of GREM1, DAPK1 and MYOD1 were significantly upregulated; HEY1 was significantly downregulated in independent P3F-positive ARMS tumors and transcriptionally active P3F cells, compared to those in ERMS tumors and transcriptionally inactive P3F cells. This study identified target genes of P3F and suggested that four downstream targets (GREM1, DAPK1, MYOD1 and HEY1) can contribute to the biological activities of P3F involved in growth suppression or cell death and myogenic differentiation.
rabdomyosarcoma; PAX3-FOXO1; gene expression; microarray
The study of patients carrying germline EGFR mutations, which have been found in cases of familial lung adenocarcinoma, could provide unique insight into lung cancer risk and carcinogenesis in non-smokers. However, investigations into the biology of germline EGFR mutations have been hampered by the lack of an effective strategy for screening for carriers. We hypothesized that patients with lung cancers found to harbor the EGFR T790M resistance mutation prior to treatment, an uncommon occurrence, would be likely to carry underlying germline T790M mutations.
Eleven unrelated patients were identified with lung cancer harboring an EGFR T790M mutation from a 7-year institutional experience with tumor genotyping. Ten patients had benign tissue available, which was anonymously tested for presence of germline EGFR mutations.
Five of 10 cases carried a germline T790M mutation (50%, CI 27%–73%). One patient’s cancer exhibited a distinctive indolent growth which has also been described in preclinical studies of T790M-mutant cancers. A second patient underwent resection of 6 separate primary lung adenocarcinomas, each carrying different sensitizing EGFR mutations as well as T790M.
Genotyping of lung cancers, now commonly performed to predict benefit from treatment with EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors, can also be used as a screening tool to identify patients at risk of carrying germline EGFR mutations. Once identified, these patients and their families can be studied prospectively in order to explore appropriate screening strategies. Further studies using existing oncogenomic data to provide insight into underlying germline genetics are warranted.
Familial lung cancer; EGFR mutations; genetic susceptibility; T790M
EGFR; Thyroid Cancer; Mutation
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
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
Human NSCLCs with activating mutations in EGFR frequently respond to treatment with EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) such as erlotinib but responses are not durable as tumors acquire resistance. Secondary mutations in EGFR (T790M) or upregulation of the MET kinase are found in over 50% of resistant tumors. Here, we report increased activation of AXL and evidence of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in multiple in vitro and in vivo EGFR-mutant lung cancer models with erlotinib acquired resistance in the absence of EGFR T790M or MET activation. Genetic or pharmacologic inhibition of AXL restored sensitivity to erlotinib in these tumor models. Increased expression of AXL, and in some cases its ligand GAS6, was found in EGFR-mutant lung cancers obtained from patients with EGFR TKI acquired resistance. These data identify AXL as a promising therapeutic target whose inhibition could prevent or overcome EGFR TKI acquired resistance in EGFR-mutant lung cancer patients.
Cancer gene fusions that encode a chimeric protein are often characterized by an intragenic discontinuity in the RNA expression levels of the exons that are 5′ or 3′ to the fusion point in one or both of the fusion partners due to differences in the levels of activation of their respective promoters. Based on this, we developed an unbiased, genome-wide bioinformatic screen for gene fusions using Affymetrix Exon array expression data. Using a training set of 46 samples with different known gene fusions, we developed a data analysis pipeline, the “Fusion Score (FS) model”, to score and rank genes for intragenic changes in expression. In a separate discovery set of 41 tumor samples with possible unknown gene fusions, the FS model generated a list of 552 candidate genes. The transcription factor gene NCOA2 was one of the candidates identified in a mesenchymal chondrosarcoma. A novel HEY1-NCOA2 fusion was identified by 5′ RACE, representing an in-frame fusion of HEY1 exon 4 to NCOA2 exon 13. RT-PCR or FISH evidence of this HEY1-NCOA2 fusion was present in all additional mesenchymal chondrosarcomas tested with a definitive histologic diagnosis and adequate material for analysis (n=9) but was absent in 15 samples of other subtypes of chondrosarcomas. We also identified a NUP107-LGR5 fusion in a dedifferentiated liposarcoma but analysis of 17 additional samples did not confirm it as a recurrent event in this sarcoma type. The novel HEY1-NCOA2 fusion appears to be the defining and diagnostic gene fusion in mesenchymal chondrosarcomas.
Compared to the numerous broad screens for oncogene mutations in adult cancers, very few have been performed in pediatric solid tumors. To identify novel mutations and potential therapeutic targets in pediatric cancers, we performed a high-throughput Sequenom-based analysis in large sets of several major pediatric solid cancers, including neuroblastoma (NB), Ewing sarcoma (ES), rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), and desmoplastic small round cell tumor (DSRCT).
We designed a highly multiplexed Sequenom-based assay to interrogate 275 recurrent mutations across 29 genes. Genomic DNA was extracted from 192 NB, 75 ES, 89 RMS, and 24 DSRCT samples. All mutations were verified by Sanger sequencing.
Mutations were identified in 13% of NB samples, 4% of ES samples, 21.1% of RMS samples, and no DSRCT samples. ALK mutations were present in 10.4% of NB samples. The remainder of NB mutations involved the BRAF, RAS, and MAP2K1 genes and were absent in samples harboring ALK mutations. Mutations were more common in embryonal RMS (ERMS) samples (28.3%) than alveolar RMS (ARMS) (3.5%). In addition to previously identified RAS and FGFR4 mutations, we report for the first time PIK3CA and CTNNB1 (Beta-Catenin) mutations in 4.9% and 3.3% of ERMS, respectively.
In ERMS, ES, and NB, we identified novel occurrences of several oncogene mutations recognized as drivers in other cancers. Overall, NB and ERMS contain significant subsets of cases with non-overlapping mutated genes in growth signaling pathways. Tumor profiling can identify a subset of pediatric solid tumor patients as candidates for kinase inhibitors or RAS-targeted therapies.
mutation; rhabdomyosarcoma; neuroblastoma; Ewing sarcoma; desmoplastic small round cell tumor
The insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R) has been considered an important therapeutic target in Ewing sarcoma (ES), generating a need to identify the subset of patients most likely to respond to IGF-1R inhibitors. We assessed IGF-1R expression in ES cell lines and patient tumors to understand the variable clinical responses to anti-IGF-1R therapy. Using ligand-binding displacement, we measured between 13,000 and 40,000 receptors per cell in ES cell lines. We used ELISA to quantify IGF-1R in patient tumors, which expressed 4.8% ± 3.7 to 20.0% ± 0.2 of the levels in a positive control cell line overexpressing IGF-1R. Flow cytometry showed markedly reduced IGF-1R expression in ES cell lines compared to a standard positive control cell line. The IGF1R gene was sequenced in 47 ES tumor samples and 8 ES cell lines; only one tumor sample showed a nonsynonymous mutation, R1353H, in a region with low functional impact. Finally, we assessed IGF-1R pathway activity in the ES stem cell (ESSC) population, to characterize its potential for resistance to anti-IGF-1R therapy, using Luminex technology. We found no significant differences in IGF-1R pathway activity between ESSCs and the total cell population. Overall, our findings suggest that IGF-1R as a therapeutic target in this sarcoma may require reevaluation.
Approximately one-third of sarcomas contain specific translocations. Ewing sarcoma is the prototypical member of this group of sarcomas; it was the first to be recognized pathologically as a singular entity and to have its signature translocation defined cytogenetically, which led to the identification of its key driver alteration, the EWS-FLI1 gene fusion that encodes this aberrant, chimeric transcription factor. Here, we review recent progress in selected areas of Ewing sarcoma research, including the application of genome-wide chromatin immunoprecipitation analyses, to provide a comprehensive view of the EWS-FLI1 target gene repertoire, the identification of EWS-FLI1 target genes that may also point to therapeutically targetable pathways, and data from model systems as they relate to the elusive cell of origin of Ewing sarcoma and its possible similarities to mesenchymal stem cells.
EWS-FLI1; Ewing sarcoma; oncogenesis; transcription; chromatin immunoprecipitation
Cheung et al show that amplified CRKL can function as a driver oncogene in lung adenocarcinoma, activating both RAS and RAP1 to induce MAPK signaling. In addition, they show that CRKL amplification may be another mechanism for primary or acquired resistance to EGFR kinase inhibitors.
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
Xp11 translocation renal cell carcinoma (RCC) harbor various TFE3 gene fusions, and are known to underexpress epithelial immunohistochemical (IHC) markers such as cytokeratin and EMA relative to usual adult type RCC; however, their profile in reference to other IHC markers that are differentially expressed in other subtypes of RCC has not been systematically assessed. Few therapeutic targets have been identified in these aggressive cancers. We created 2 tissue microarrays (TMA) containing five 1.4-mm cores from each of 21 Xp11 translocation RCC (all confirmed by TFE3 IHC, 6 further confirmed by genetics), 7 clear cell RCC (CCRCC), and 6 papillary RCC (PRCC). These TMA were labeled for a panel of IHC markers. In contrast to earlier published data, Xp11 translocation RCC frequently expressed renal transcription factors PAX8 (16/21 cases) and PAX2 (14/21 cases), whereas only 1 of 21 cases focally expressed MiTF and only 5 of 21 overexpressed p21. Although experimental data suggest otherwise, Xp11 translocation RCC did not express WT-1 (0/21 cases). Although 24% of Xp11 translocation RCC expressed HIF-1α (like CCRCC), unlike CCRCC CA IX expression was characteristically only focal (mean 6% cell labeling) in Xp11 translocation RCC. Other markers preferentially expressed in CCRCC or PRCC, such as HIG-2, claudin 7, and EpCAM, yielded inconsistent results in Xp11 translocation RCC. Xp11 translocation RCC infrequently expressed Ksp-cadherin (3/21 cases) and c-kit (0/21 cases), markers frequently expressed in chromophobe RCC. Using an H-score that is the product of intensity and percentage labeling, Xp11 translocation RCC expressed higher levels of phosphorylated S6, a measure of mTOR pathway activation (mean H score = 88), than did CCRCC (mean H score = 54) or PRCC (mean H score = 44). In conclusion, in contrast to prior reports, Xp11 translocation RCC usually express PAX2 and PAX8 but do not usually express MiTF. Although they may express HIF-1α, they only focally express the downstream target CA IX. They inconsistently express markers associated with other RCC subtypes, further highlighting the lack of specificity of the latter markers. TFE3 and Cathepsin K remain the most sensitive and specific markers of these neoplasms. Elevated expression of phosphorylated S6 in Xp11 translocation RCC suggests the mTOR pathway as an attractive potential therapeutic target for these neoplasms.
TFE3; renal cell carcinoma; biomarker
The management of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has been transformed by the observation that lung adenocarcinomas harboring mutations in EGFR are uniquely sensitive to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). In these patients, acquired resistance to EGFR-TKI develops after a median of 10-14 months, at which time the current standard practice is to switch to conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy. Several possible mechanisms for acquired resistance have been identified, the most common being the development of an EGFR T790M gate-keeper mutation in over 50% of cases. In this review, we discuss recent advances in the understanding of acquired TKI resistance in EGFR-mutant lung cancer and review therapeutic progress with second generation TKIs and combinations of targeted therapies.