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.
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
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.
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
Human lung adenocarcinomas with activating mutations in EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) often respond to treatment with EGFRtyrosine kinase inhibitors(TKIs),butthe magnitude of tumour regression is variable and transient1,2. This heterogeneity in treatment response could result from genetic modifiers that regulate the degree to which tumour cells are dependent on mutant EGFR. Through a pooled RNA interference screen, we show that knockdown of FAS and several components of the NF-κB pathway specifically enhanced cell death induced by the EGFR TKI erlotinib in EGFR-mutant lung cancer cells. Activation of NF-κB through overexpression of c-FLIP or IKK (also known as CFLAR and IKBKB, respectively), or silencing of IκB (also known as NFKBIA), rescued EGFR-mutant lung cancer cells from EGFR TKI treatment. Genetic or pharmacologic inhibition of NF-κB enhanced erlotinib-induced apoptosis in erlotinib-sensitive and erlotinib-resistant EGFR-mutant lung cancer models. Increased expression of the NF-κB inhibitor IκB predicted for improved response and survival in EGFR-mutant lung cancer patients treated with EGFR TKI. These data identify NF-κB as a potential companion drug target, together with EGFR, in EGFR-mutant lung cancers and provide insight into the mechanisms by which tumour cells escape from oncogene dependence.
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
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.
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.
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.
To determine if tumor regression following treatment with gefitinib correlates with the presence of sensitizing mutations in EGFR.
Patients and Methods
Patients with resectable stage I and II non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) enriched for the likelihood of EGFR mutation (≤ 15 pack year cigarette smoking history and/or a component of bronchioloalveolar carcinoma) received preoperative gefitinib for 21 days. Tumor specimens were analyzed for EGFR and KRAS mutations and EGFR protein expression and amplification. Patients with ≥ 25% reduction in tumor size measured bidimensionally at 3 weeks and/or patients with an EGFR mutation received adjuvant gefitinib for 2 years post-operatively.
50 patients with stage I/II NSCLC were treated. After 21 days of preoperative gefitinib a response of ≥ 25% was observed in 21/50 (42%) patients. 17/21 patients with a response had an EGFR mutation and 4/21 patients with a response did not (p=0.0001). 25/50 patients were eligible to receive adjuvant gefitinib. With a median follow-up of 44.1 months, 2-year disease free survival for EGFR mutant patients and for those who received adjuvant gefitinib was not statistically different than those who were EGFR wild-type and those who did not receive adjuvant gefitinib. The median disease free and overall survivals have not been reached.
The presence of sensitizing EGFR mutations correlates with radiographic response. A short course of preoperative treatment serves a platform for evaluating activity of new agents and assures sufficient tumor availability for correlative analyses.
Patients with EGFR-mutant lung adenocarcinoma develop acquired resistance to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) after a median of 10–16 months. In half of these cases a second EGFR mutation, T790M, underlies acquired resistance. We undertook this study to examine the clinical course of patients harboring the T790M mutation following progression on TKI.
EGFR-mutant lung cancer patients with acquired resistance to EGFR TKIs were identified as part of a prospective re-biopsy protocol where post-progression tumor specimens were collected for molecular analysis. Post-progression survival and characteristics of disease progression were compared in patients with and without T790M.
We identified T790M in the initial re-biopsy specimens from 58/93 patients (62%, 95% confidence interval 52%–72%). T790M was more common in biopsies of lung/pleura tissue and lymph nodes than in more distant sites (p=0.014). Median post-progression survival was 16 months (interquartile range 9–29 months); patients with T790M had a significantly longer post-progression survival (p=0.036). Patients without T790M more often progressed in a previously uninvolved organ system (p=0.014) and exhibited a poorer performance status at time of progression (p=0.007).
Among patients with acquired resistance to EGFR TKIs, the presence of T790M defines a clinical subset with a relatively favorable prognosis and more indolent progression. Knowledge of T790M status is therefore important for the clinical care of these patients as well as for the optimal design and interpretation of clinical trials in this setting.
The EGFR mutation T790M is reported in approximately 50% of lung cancers with acquired resistance to EGFR inhibitors and is a potential prognostic and predictive biomarker. Its assessment can be challenging due to limited tissue availability and underdetection at low mutant allele levels. Here, we sought to determine the feasibility of tumor rebiopsy and to more accurately assess the prevalence of the T790M using a highly sensitive locked nucleic acid (LNA) PCR/sequencing assay. MET amplification is also analyzed.
Patients with acquired resistance were rebiopsied and samples were studied for sensitizing EGFR mutations. Positive cases were evaluated for T790M using standard PCR-based methods and a subset were re-evaluated with an LNA-PCR/sequencing method with an analytical sensitivity of approximately 0.1%. MET amplification was assessed by FISH.
Of 121 patients undergoing tissue sampling, 104 (86%) were successfully analyzed for sensitizing EGFR mutations. Most failures were related to low tumor content. All patients (61/61) with matched pretreatment and resistance specimens showed concordance for the original sensitizing EGFR mutation. Standard T790M mutation analysis on 99 patients detected 51(51%) mutants. Retesting of 30 negative patients by the LNA-based method detected 11 additional mutants for an estimated prevalence of 68%. MET was amplified in 11% of cases (4/37).
The re-biopsy of lung cancer patients with acquired resistance is feasible and provides sufficient material for mutation analysis in most patients. Using high sensitivity methods, the T790M is detected in up to 68% of these patients.
Dual inhibition of SRC and EGFR -dependent pathways may overcome acquired resistance to EGFR-TKIs for patients with lung adenocarcinoma with EGFR mutations. The SRC-inhibitor dasatinib demonstrates anti-tumor activity in gefitinib-resistant cells lines and xenografts. Dasatinib is tolerable for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer, and in combination with erlotinib.
We conducted this phase II study of dasatinib 70 mg twice daily in patients with EGFR-mutant lung adenocarcinoma and acquired resistance to EGFR-TKIs. After a protocol amendment based upon evolving data about both drugs, patients received dasatinib at a dose of 100 mg daily with continued erlotinib after developing acquired resistance. Enrolled patients either harbored an activating mutation in EGFR or experienced clinical benefit with single-agent erlotinib or gefitinib, followed by RECIST documented progression while being treated with an EGFR-TKI.
Twenty-one patients were enrolled, nine under the original trial design and 12 after the protocol amendments. We observed no complete or partial responses (0% observed rate, 95% CI 0–18%). The median time to progression was 0.5 months (range 0.2–1.8 months) in patients treated with dasatinib, and 0.9 months (range 0.4–5 months) for patients treated with dasatinib and erlotinib in combination. Pleural effusions and dyspnea were frequent toxicities.
Dasatinib has no activity in patients with EGFR-mutant lung adenocarcinoma with acquired resistance to erlotinib and gefitinib.
The impact of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and KRAS genotypes on outcomes with erlotinib or gefitinib therapy continues to be debated. This study combines patient data from five trials in predominantly Western populations to assess the impact of EGFR and KRAS mutations on first-line therapy with an EGFR–tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) and compare clinical versus molecular predictors of sensitivity.
Chemotherapy-naïve patients with advanced non–small cell lung cancer and known EGFR mutation status treated with erlotinib or gefitinib monotherapy as part of a clinical trial were eligible for inclusion. Patients received daily erlotinib (150 mg) or gefitinib (250 mg) until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. Data were collected in a password-protected web database. Clinical outcomes were analyzed to look for differences based on EGFR and KRAS genotypes, as well as clinical characteristics.
Patients (223) from five clinical trials were included. Sensitizing EGFR mutations were associated with a 67% response rate, time to progression (TTP) of 11.8 months, and overall survival of 23.9 months. Exon 19 deletions were associated with longer median TTP and overall survival compared with L858R mutations. Wild-type EGFR was associated with poorer outcomes (response rate, 3%; TTP, 3.2 months) irrespective of KRAS status. No difference in outcome was seen between patients harboring KRAS transition versus transversion mutations. EGFR genotype was more effective than clinical characteristics at selecting appropriate patients for consideration of first-line therapy with an EGFR-TKI.
EGFR mutation status is associated with sensitivity to treatment with an EGFR-TKI in patients with advanced non–small cell lung cancer. Patients harboring sensitizing EGFR mutations should be considered for first-line erlotinib or gefitinib.
Germline polymorphisms may confer susceptibility to lung cancer in never smokers, but studies in the US have been limited by the low number of cases seen at single institutions. We hypothesized that we could use the Internet to bolster accrual of appropriate patients.
We established an Internet-based protocol to collect blood and information from patients throughout the U.S. To illustrate the power of this approach, we used these samples, plus additional cases and age-matched controls from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (New York, NY) and the Aichi Cancer Center (Nagoya, Japan), to analyze germline DNA for genetic variants reportedly associated with lung cancer susceptibility. The genotypes for the polymorphisms rs763317 (intron 1) and T790M (exon 20) in the EGFR gene were determined by direct sequencing, and CHRNA3 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor SNPs (rs8034191 and rs1051730) were genotyped as part of a pilot genome-wide association study.
We successfully analyzed germline DNA from 369 cases, including 45 obtained via the Internet, and 342 controls. A germline EGFR T790M variant was identified in 2 (0.54%, 95% CI: 0.21%–1.29%) of the 369 cases, and in none of the 292 controls (p=0.208). No difference was observed in EGFR rs763317 frequency between cases and controls. Similarly, neither CHRNA3 rs8034191 nor rs1051730 was associated with lung cancer risk.
The Internet provides a way to recruit patients throughout the country for minimal risk studies. This approach could be used to facilitate studies of germline polymorphisms in specific groups of patients with cancer.
Non-small cell lung cancer; EGFR; never smoker; genetic susceptibility; Internet
A prior study demonstrated that addition of continuous daily erlotinib fails to improve response rate or survival in non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients treated with carboplatin and paclitaxel. However, preclinical data support the hypothesis that intermittent administration of erlotinib before or after chemotherapy may improve efficacy. We tested this hypothesis in patients with advanced NSCLC.
Patients and Methods
Eligible patients were former or current smokers with chemotherapy-naive stage IIIB or IV NSCLC. All patients received up to six cycles of carboplatin (area under the curve = 6) and paclitaxel (200 mg/m2), with random assignment to one of the following three erlotinib treatments: erlotinib 150 mg on days 1 and 2 with chemotherapy on day 3 (150 PRE); erlotinib 1,500 mg on days 1 and 2 with chemotherapy on day 3 (1,500 PRE); or chemotherapy on day 1 with erlotinib 1,500 mg on days 2 and 3 (1,500 POST). The primary end point was response rate.
Eighty-six patients received treatment. The response rates for the 150 PRE, 1,500 PRE, and 1,500 POST arms were 18% (five of 28 patients), 34% (10 of 29 patients), and 28% (eight of 29 patients), respectively. The median overall survival times were 10, 15, and 10 months for the 150 PRE, 1,500 PRE, and 1,500 POST arms, respectively. The most common grade 3 and 4 toxicities were neutropenia (39%), fatigue (15%), and anemia (12%). Grade 3 and 4 rash and diarrhea were uncommon.
Patients treated on the 1,500 PRE arm had the highest response rate and longest survival, with ranges similar to those reported for carboplatin, paclitaxel, and bevacizumab in a more restricted population. Further evaluation of this strategy in a phase III trial is proposed.
Somatic mutations in the tyrosine kinase domain of EGFR are associated with sensitivity of lung adenocarcinomas to the EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), gefitinib and erlotinib. Acquired drug resistance is frequently associated with a secondary somatic mutation that leads to substitution of methionine for threonine at position 790 (T790M). We aimed to identify additional second-site alterations associated with acquired resistance.
Tumor samples were obtained from 48 patients with acquired resistance. Tumor cell DNA was analyzed for EGFR kinase domain mutations. Molecular analyses were then performed to characterize biological properties of a novel mutant EGFR allele.
A previously unreported mutation in exon 21 of EGFR, which leads to substitution of alanine for threonine at position 854 (T854A), was identified in one patient with a drug-sensitive EGFR L858R-mutant lung adenocarcinoma after long-term treatment with TKIs. The T854A mutation was not detected in a pretreatment tumor sample. Crystal structure analyses of EGFR suggest that the T854 side chain is within contact distance of gefitinib and erlotinib. Surrogate kinase assays demonstrate that the EGFR T854A mutation abrogates inhibition of tyrosine phosphorylation by erlotinib. Such resistance appears to be overcome by a new irreversible dual EGFR/HER2 inhibitor, BIBW 2992.
The T854A mutation is the second reported second-site acquired resistance mutation that is within contact distance of gefitinib and erlotinib. These data suggest that acquired resistance to ATP-mimetic EGFR kinase inhibitors may often be associated with amino acid substitutions that alter drug contact residues in the EGFR ATP-binding pocket.
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.
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
Lung adenocarcinomas from patients who respond to the tyrosine kinase inhibitors gefitinib (Iressa) or erlotinib (Tarceva) usually harbor somatic gain-of-function mutations in exons encoding the kinase domain of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Despite initial responses, patients eventually progress by unknown mechanisms of “acquired” resistance.
Methods and Findings
We show that in two of five patients with acquired resistance to gefitinib or erlotinib, progressing tumors contain, in addition to a primary drug-sensitive mutation in EGFR, a secondary mutation in exon 20, which leads to substitution of methionine for threonine at position 790 (T790M) in the kinase domain. Tumor cells from a sixth patient with a drug-sensitive EGFR mutation whose tumor progressed on adjuvant gefitinib after complete resection also contained the T790M mutation. This mutation was not detected in untreated tumor samples. Moreover, no tumors with acquired resistance had KRAS mutations, which have been associated with primary resistance to these drugs. Biochemical analyses of transfected cells and growth inhibition studies with lung cancer cell lines demonstrate that the T790M mutation confers resistance to EGFR mutants usually sensitive to either gefitinib or erlotinib. Interestingly, a mutation analogous to T790M has been observed in other kinases with acquired resistance to another kinase inhibitor, imatinib (Gleevec).
In patients with tumors bearing gefitinib- or erlotinib-sensitive EGFR mutations, resistant subclones containing an additional EGFR mutation emerge in the presence of drug. This observation should help guide the search for more effective therapy against a specific subset of lung cancers.
A specific secondary mutation in the kinase domain of the epidermal growth factor receptor can render cells insensitive to the two kinase inhibitors. This mutation was found in resistant tumors from three of six patients studied