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1.  Two co-existing germline mutations P53 V157D and PMS2 R20Q promote tumorigenesis in a familial cancer syndrome 
Cancer letters  2013;342(1):36-42.
Germline mutations are responsible for familial cancer syndromes which account for approximately 5–10% of all types of cancers. These mutations mainly occur at tumor suppressor genes or genome stability genes, such as DNA repair genes. Here we have identified a cancer predisposition family, in which eight members were inflicted with a wide spectrum of cancer including one diagnosed with lung cancer at 22 years old. Sequencing analysis of tumor samples as well as histologically normal specimens identified two germline mutations co-existing in the familial cancer syndrome, the mutation of tumor suppressor gene P53 V157D and mismatch repair gene PMS2 R20Q. We further demonstrate that P53 V157D and/or PMS2 R20Q mutant promotes lung cancer cell proliferation. These two mutants are capable of promoting colony formation in soft agar as well as tumor formation in transgenic drosophila system. Collectively, these data have uncovered the important role of co-existing germline P53 and PMS2 mutations in the familial cancer syndrome development.
doi:10.1016/j.canlet.2013.08.032
PMCID: PMC3981830  PMID: 23981578
P53 V157D; PMS2 R20Q; Germline mutation; Familial cancer syndrome; Co-existing
2.  High dose weekly erlotinib achieves therapeutic concentrations in CSF and is effective in leptomeningeal metastases from epidermal growth factor receptor mutant lung cancer 
Journal of neuro-oncology  2010;99(2):283-286.
Leptomeningeal metastases (LM) occur in 5–10% of patients with solid tumors and are associated with a dismal prognosis. We describe LM from lung adenocarcinoma harboring a mutation in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene that confers sensitivity to the EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs) erlotinib and gefitinib. The CSF concentration of EGFR-TKIs achieved by standard daily dosing may be insufficient for therapeutic effect. However, intermittent (pulsatile) high dose administration (1000–1500 mg/week) achieves a higher CSF concentration than standard dosing, and successfully controlled LM in this patient.
doi:10.1007/s11060-010-0128-6
PMCID: PMC3973736  PMID: 20146086
Leptomeningeal metastases; EGFR; Lung cancer; Erlotinib
3.  Association of KRAS and EGFR Mutations with Survival in Patients with Advanced Lung Adenocarcinomas 
Cancer  2012;119(2):356-362.
Background
Lung adenocarcinomas can be distinguished by identifying mutated driver oncogenes including EGFR and KRAS. Mutations in EGFR are associated with both an improved survival as well as response to treatment with erlotinib and gefitinib. However, the prognostic significance of KRAS has not been evaluated in large numbers of patients and remains controversial. We examined the association of EGFR and KRAS mutations with survival among patients with advanced lung adenocarcinomas.
Methods
We analyzed data from patients with advanced lung adenocarcinomas and known EGFR and KRAS mutation status evaluated between 2002 and 2009. We collected clinical variables including age, gender, Karnofsky Performance Status, smoking history, and treatment history. Overall survival from diagnosis of advanced disease was analyzed using Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional hazard methods.
Results
We evaluated 1036 patients, including 610 women (59%) and 344 never-smokers (33%). Patients had a median age of 65 (range, 25–92) and the majority (81%) had a KPS ≥80%. In multivariate analysis, EGFR mutations were associated with a longer overall survival (HR= 0.6, p<0.001) and KRAS mutations with a shorter survival (HR=1.21, p=0.048).
Conclusions
KRAS mutations predict shorter survival for patients with advanced lung adenocarcinomas. The presence of EGFR and KRAS mutations define distinct subsets of patients with lung adenocarcinomas, and should be determined in patients upon diagnosis of advanced disease. Clinical trial reports should include EGFR and KRAS mutation status along with other prognostic factors.
doi:10.1002/cncr.27730
PMCID: PMC3966555  PMID: 22810899
non-small cell lung cancer; adenocarcinomas; EGFR; KRAS; survival; prognostic factors
4.  Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor–Resistant Disease 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2013;31(8):1070-1080.
Purpose
EGFR-mutant lung cancer was first described as a new clinical entity in 2004. Here, we present an update on new controversies and conclusions regarding the disease.
Methods
This article reviews the clinical implications of EGFR mutations in lung cancer with a focus on epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor resistance.
Results
The discovery of EGFR mutations has altered the ways in which we consider and treat non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Patients whose metastatic tumors harbor EGFR mutations are expected to live longer than 2 years, more than double the previous survival rates for lung cancer.
Conclusion
The information presented in this review can guide practitioners and help them inform their patients about EGFR mutations and their impact on the treatment of NSCLC. Efforts should now concentrate on making EGFR-mutant lung cancer a chronic rather than fatal disease.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2012.43.3912
PMCID: PMC3589701  PMID: 23401451
5.  Patterns and processes of somatic mutations in nine major cancers 
BMC Medical Genomics  2014;7:11.
Background
Cancer genomes harbor hundreds to thousands of somatic nonsynonymous mutations. DNA damage and deficiency of DNA repair systems are two major forces to cause somatic mutations, marking cancer genomes with specific somatic mutation patterns. Recently, several pan-cancer genome studies revealed more than 20 mutation signatures across multiple cancer types. However, detailed cancer-type specific mutation signatures and their different features within (intra-) and between (inter-) cancer types remain largely unexplored.
Methods
We employed a matrix decomposition algorithm, namely Non-negative Matrix Factorization, to survey the somatic mutations in nine major human cancers, involving a total of ~2100 genomes.
Results
Our results revealed 3-5 independent mutational signatures in each cancer, implying that a range of 3-5 predominant mutational processes likely underlie each cancer genome. Both mutagen exposure (tobacco and sun) and changes in DNA repair systems (APOBEC family, POLE, and MLH1) were found as mutagenesis forces, each of which marks the genome with an evident mutational signature. We studied the features of several signatures and their combinatory patterns within and across cancers. On one hand, we found each signature may influence a cancer genome with different influential magnitudes even in the same cancer type and the signature-specific load reflects intra-cancer heterogeneity (e.g., the smoking-related signature in lung cancer smokers and never smokers). On the other hand, inter-cancer heterogeneity is characterized by combinatory patterns of mutational signatures, where no cancers share the same signature profile, even between two lung cancer subtypes (lung adenocarcinoma and squamous cell lung cancer).
Conclusions
Our work provides a detailed overview of the mutational characteristics in each of nine major cancers and highlights that the mutational signature profile is representative of each cancer.
doi:10.1186/1755-8794-7-11
PMCID: PMC3942057  PMID: 24552141
Somatic mutation; Cancer; Kataegis; Mutation signature; Mutagen; Heterogeneity
6.  Role of DNA Methylation and Epigenetic Silencing of HAND2 in Endometrial Cancer Development 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(11):e1001551.
TB filled in by Laureen
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Endometrial cancer incidence is continuing to rise in the wake of the current ageing and obesity epidemics. Much of the risk for endometrial cancer development is influenced by the environment and lifestyle. Accumulating evidence suggests that the epigenome serves as the interface between the genome and the environment and that hypermethylation of stem cell polycomb group target genes is an epigenetic hallmark of cancer. The objective of this study was to determine the functional role of epigenetic factors in endometrial cancer development.
Methods and Findings
Epigenome-wide methylation analysis of >27,000 CpG sites in endometrial cancer tissue samples (n = 64) and control samples (n = 23) revealed that HAND2 (a gene encoding a transcription factor expressed in the endometrial stroma) is one of the most commonly hypermethylated and silenced genes in endometrial cancer. A novel integrative epigenome-transcriptome-interactome analysis further revealed that HAND2 is the hub of the most highly ranked differential methylation hotspot in endometrial cancer. These findings were validated using candidate gene methylation analysis in multiple clinical sample sets of tissue samples from a total of 272 additional women. Increased HAND2 methylation was a feature of premalignant endometrial lesions and was seen to parallel a decrease in RNA and protein levels. Furthermore, women with high endometrial HAND2 methylation in their premalignant lesions were less likely to respond to progesterone treatment. HAND2 methylation analysis of endometrial secretions collected using high vaginal swabs taken from women with postmenopausal bleeding specifically identified those patients with early stage endometrial cancer with both high sensitivity and high specificity (receiver operating characteristics area under the curve = 0.91 for stage 1A and 0.97 for higher than stage 1A). Finally, mice harbouring a Hand2 knock-out specifically in their endometrium were shown to develop precancerous endometrial lesions with increasing age, and these lesions also demonstrated a lack of PTEN expression.
Conclusions
HAND2 methylation is a common and crucial molecular alteration in endometrial cancer that could potentially be employed as a biomarker for early detection of endometrial cancer and as a predictor of treatment response. The true clinical utility of HAND2 DNA methylation, however, requires further validation in prospective studies.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Cancer, which is responsible for 13% of global deaths, can develop anywhere in the body, but all cancers are characterized by uncontrolled cell growth and reduced cellular differentiation (the process by which unspecialized cells such as “stem” cells become specialized during development, tissue repair, and normal cell turnover). Genetic alterations—changes in the sequence of nucleotides (DNA's building blocks) in specific genes—are required for this cellular transformation and subsequent cancer development (carcinogenesis). However, recent evidence suggests that epigenetic modifications—reversible, heritable changes in gene function that occur in the absence of nucleotide sequence changes—may also be involved in carcinogenesis. For example, the addition of methyl groups to a set of genes called stem cell polycomb group target genes (PCGTs; polycomb genes control the expression of their target genes by modifying their DNA or associated proteins) is one of the earliest molecular changes in human cancer development, and increasing evidence suggests that hypermethylation of PCGTs is an epigenetic hallmark of cancer.
Why Was This Study Done?
The methylation of PCGTs, which is triggered by age and by environmental factors that are associated with cancer development, reduces cellular differentiation and leads to the accumulation of undifferentiated cells that are susceptible to cancer development. It is unclear, however, whether epigenetic modifications have a causal role in carcinogenesis. Here, the researchers investigate the involvement of epigenetic factors in the development of endometrial (womb) cancer. The risk of endometrial cancer (which affects nearly 50,000 women annually in the United States) is largely determined by environmental and lifestyle factors. Specifically, the risk of this cancer is increased in women in whom estrogen (a hormone that drives cell proliferation in the endometrium) is functionally dominant over progesterone (a hormone that inhibits endometrial proliferation and causes cell differentiation); obese women and women who have taken estrogen-only hormone replacement therapies fall into this category. Thus, endometrial cancer is an ideal model in which to study whether epigenetic mechanisms underlie carcinogenesis.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers collected data on genome-wide DNA methylation at cytosine- and guanine-rich sites in endometrial cancers and normal endometrium and integrated this information with the human interactome and transcriptome (all the physical interactions between proteins and all the genes expressed, respectively, in a cell) using an algorithm called Functional Epigenetic Modules (FEM). This analysis identified HAND2 as the hub of the most highly ranked differential methylation hotspot in endometrial cancer. HAND2 is a progesterone-regulated stem cell PCGT. It encodes a transcription factor that is expressed in the endometrial stroma (the connective tissue that lies below the epithelial cells in which most endometrial cancers develop) and that suppresses the production of the growth factors that mediate the growth-inducing effects of estrogen on the endometrial epithelium. The researchers hypothesized, therefore, that epigenetic deregulation of HAND2 could be a key step in endometrial cancer development. In support of this hypothesis, the researchers report that HAND2 methylation was increased in premalignant endometrial lesions (cancer-prone, abnormal-looking tissue) compared to normal endometrium, and was associated with suppression of HAND2 expression. Moreover, a high level of endometrial HAND2 methylation in premalignant lesions predicted a poor response to progesterone treatment (which stops the growth of some endometrial cancers), and analysis of HAND2 methylation in endometrial secretions collected from women with postmenopausal bleeding (a symptom of endometrial cancer) accurately identified individuals with early stage endometrial cancer. Finally, mice in which the Hand2 gene was specifically deleted in the endometrium developed precancerous endometrial lesions with age.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These and other findings identify HAND2 methylation as a common, key molecular alteration in endometrial cancer. These findings need to be confirmed in more women, and studies are needed to determine the immediate molecular and cellular consequences of HAND2 silencing in endometrial stromal cells. Nevertheless, these results suggest that HAND2 methylation could potentially be used as a biomarker for the early detection of endometrial cancer and for predicting treatment response. More generally, these findings support the idea that methylation of HAND2 (and, by extension, the methylation of other PCGTs) is not a passive epigenetic feature of cancer but is functionally involved in cancer development, and provide a framework for identifying other genes that are epigenetically regulated and functionally important in carcinogenesis.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001551
The US National Cancer Institute provides information on all aspects of cancer and has detailed information about endometrial cancer for patients and professionals (in English and Spanish)
The not-for-profit organization American Cancer Society provides information on cancer and how it develops and specific information on endometrial cancer (in several languages)
The UK National Health Service Choices website includes an introduction to cancer, a page on endometrial cancer, and a personal story about endometrial cancer
The not-for-profit organization Cancer Research UK provides general information about cancer and specific information about endometrial cancer
Wikipedia has a page on cancer epigenetics (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
The Eve Appeal charity that supported this research provides useful information on gynecological cancers
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001551
PMCID: PMC3825654  PMID: 24265601
7.  Characteristics of Lung Cancers Harboring NRAS Mutations 
Purpose
We sought to determine the frequency and clinical characteristics of patients with lung cancer harboring NRAS mutations. We used preclinical models to identify targeted therapies likely to be of benefit against NRAS mutant lung cancer cells.
Patients and Methods
We reviewed clinical data from patients whose lung cancers were identified at 6 institutions or reported in the Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer (COSMIC) to harbor NRAS mutations. 6 NRAS mutant cell lines were screened for sensitivity against inhibitors of multiple kinases (i.e. EGFR, ALK, MET, IGF-1R, BRAF, PI3K and MEK).
Results
Among 4562 patients with lung cancers tested, NRAS mutations were present in 30 (0.7%; 95% confidence interval, 0.45% to 0.94%); 28 of these had no other driver mutations. 83% had adenocarcinoma histology with no significant differences in gender. While 95% of patients were former or current smokers, smoking-related G:C>T:A transversions were significantly less frequent in NRAS mutated lung tumors compared to KRAS-mutant NSCLCs (NRAS: 13% (4/30), KRAS: 66% (1772/2733), p<0.00000001). 5 of 6 NRAS mutant cell lines were sensitive to the MEK inhibitors, selumetinib and trametinib, but not to other inhibitors tested.
Conclusion
NRAS mutations define a distinct subset of lung cancers (~1%) with potential sensitivity to MEK inhibitors. While NRAS mutations are more common in current/former smokers, the types of mutations are not those classically associated with smoking.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-12-3173
PMCID: PMC3643999  PMID: 23515407
NRAS mutation; EGFR mutation; KRAS mutation; lung cancer; non-small cell lung cancer; driver mutation; MEK inhibitor; erlotinib; gefitinib; crizotinib
8.  Detecting somatic point mutations in cancer genome sequencing data: a comparison of mutation callers 
Genome Medicine  2013;5(10):91.
Background
Driven by high throughput next generation sequencing technologies and the pressing need to decipher cancer genomes, computational approaches for detecting somatic single nucleotide variants (sSNVs) have undergone dramatic improvements during the past 2 years. The recently developed tools typically compare a tumor sample directly with a matched normal sample at each variant locus in order to increase the accuracy of sSNV calling. These programs also address the detection of sSNVs at low allele frequencies, allowing for the study of tumor heterogeneity, cancer subclones, and mutation evolution in cancer development.
Methods
We used whole genome sequencing (Illumina Genome Analyzer IIx platform) of a melanoma sample and matched blood, whole exome sequencing (Illumina HiSeq 2000 platform) of 18 lung tumor-normal pairs and seven lung cancer cell lines to evaluate six tools for sSNV detection: EBCall, JointSNVMix, MuTect, SomaticSniper, Strelka, and VarScan 2, with a focus on MuTect and VarScan 2, two widely used publicly available software tools. Default/suggested parameters were used to run these tools. The missense sSNVs detected in these samples were validated through PCR and direct sequencing of genomic DNA from the samples. We also simulated 10 tumor-normal pairs to explore the ability of these programs to detect low allelic-frequency sSNVs.
Results
Out of the 237 sSNVs successfully validated in our cancer samples, VarScan 2 and MuTect detected the most of any tools (that is, 204 and 192, respectively). MuTect identified 11 more low-coverage validated sSNVs than VarScan 2, but missed 11 more sSNVs with alternate alleles in normal samples than VarScan 2. When examining the false calls of each tool using 169 invalidated sSNVs, we observed >63% false calls detected in the lung cancer cell lines had alternate alleles in normal samples. Additionally, from our simulation data, VarScan 2 identified more sSNVs than other tools, while MuTect characterized most low allelic-fraction sSNVs.
Conclusions
Our study explored the typical false-positive and false-negative detections that arise from the use of sSNV-calling tools. Our results suggest that despite recent progress, these tools have significant room for improvement, especially in the discrimination of low coverage/allelic-frequency sSNVs and sSNVs with alternate alleles in normal samples.
doi:10.1186/gm495
PMCID: PMC3971343  PMID: 24112718
9.  HER2 amplification: a potential mechanism of acquired resistance to EGFR inhibition in EGFR mutant lung cancers that lack the second-site EGFR T790M mutation 
Cancer discovery  2012;2(10):922-933.
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.
doi:10.1158/2159-8290.CD-12-0108
PMCID: PMC3473100  PMID: 22956644
EGFR mutations; lung cancer; EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors; erlotinib; afatinib; cetuximab; HER2 amplification; EGFR T790M; acquired resistance
10.  Impact on disease-free survival of adjuvant erlotinib or gefitinib in patients with resected lung adenocarcinomas that harbor epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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).
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1097/JTO.0b013e318202bffe
PMCID: PMC3778680  PMID: 21150674
11.  Mapping the hallmarks of lung adenocarcinoma with massively parallel sequencing 
Cell  2012;150(6):1107-1120.
SUMMARY
Lung adenocarcinoma, the most common subtype of non-small cell lung cancer, is responsible for over 500,000 deaths per year worldwide. Here, we report exome and genome sequences of 183 lung adenocarcinoma tumor/normal DNA pairs. These analyses revealed a mean exonic somatic mutation rate of 12.0 events/megabase and identified the majority of genes previously reported as significantly mutated in lung adenocarcinoma. In addition, we identified statistically recurrent somatic mutations in the splicing factor gene U2AF1 and truncating mutations affecting RBM10 and ARID1A. Analysis of nucleotide context-specific mutation signatures grouped the sample set into distinct clusters that correlated with smoking history and alterations of reported lung adenocarcinoma genes. Whole genome sequence analysis revealed frequent structural re-arrangements, including in-frame exonic alterations within EGFR and SIK2 kinases. The candidate genes identified in this study are attractive targets for biological characterization and therapeutic targeting of lung adenocarcinoma.
doi:10.1016/j.cell.2012.08.029
PMCID: PMC3557932  PMID: 22980975
12.  BRAF L597 mutations in melanoma are associated with sensitivity to MEK inhibitors 
Cancer discovery  2012;2(9):791-797.
Kinase inhibitors are accepted treatment for metastatic melanomas that harbor specific driver mutations in BRAF or KIT, but only 40–50% of cases are positive. To uncover other potential targetable mutations, we performed whole-genome sequencing of a highly aggressive BRAF (V600) and KIT (W557, V559, L576, K642, D816) wildtype melanoma. Surprisingly, we found a somatic BRAF L597R mutation in exon 15. Analysis of BRAF exon 15 in 49 tumors negative for BRAF V600 mutations as well as driver mutations in KIT, NRAS, GNAQ, and GNA11, showed that 2 (4%) harbored L597 mutations and another 2 involved BRAF D594 and K601 mutations. In vitro signaling induced by L597R/S/Q mutants was suppressed by MEK inhibition. A patient with BRAF L597S mutant metastatic melanoma responded significantly to treatment with the MEK inhibitor, TAK-733. Collectively, these data demonstrate clinical significance to BRAF L597 mutations in melanoma.
doi:10.1158/2159-8290.CD-12-0097
PMCID: PMC3449158  PMID: 22798288
melanoma; BRAF L597; whole genome sequencing; BRAF inhibitor; MEK inhibitor; TAK-733
13.  Effects of Pharmacokinetic Processes and Varied Dosing Schedules on the Dynamics of Acquired Resistance to Erlotinib in EGFR-Mutant Lung Cancer 
Introduction
Erlotinib (Tarceva) is an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitor, which effectively targets EGFR-mutant driven non–small-cell lung cancer. However, the evolution of acquired resistance because of a second-site mutation (T790M) within EGFR remains an obstacle to successful treatment.
Methods
We used mathematical modeling and available clinical trial data to predict how different pharmacokinetic parameters (fast versus slow metabolism) and dosing schedules (low dose versus high dose; missed doses with and without make-up doses) might affect the evolution of T790M-mediated resistance in mixed populations of tumor cells.
Results
We found that high-dose pulses with low-dose continuous therapy impede the development of resistance to the maximum extent, both pre- and post-emergence of resistance. The probability of resistance is greater in fast versus slow drug metabolizers, suggesting a potential mechanism, unappreciated to date, influencing acquired resistance in patients. In case of required dose modifications because of toxicity, little difference is observed in terms of efficacy and resistance dynamics between the standard daily dose (150 mg/d) and 150 mg/d alternating with 100 mg/d. Missed doses are expected to lead to resistance faster, even if make-up doses are attempted.
Conclusions
For existing and new kinase inhibitors, this novel framework can be used to rationally and rapidly design optimal dosing strategies to minimize the development of acquired resistance.
doi:10.1097/JTO.0b013e31826146ee
PMCID: PMC3693219  PMID: 22982659
EGFR-mutant lung cancer; Erlotinib; Evolutionary cancer modeling; Pharmacokinetic modeling; Acquired resistance; EGFR T790M mutation
14.  Core Needle Lung Biopsy Specimens: Adequacy for EGFR and KRAS Mutational Analysis 
OBJECTIVE
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.
RESULTS
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.
CONCLUSION
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.
doi:10.2214/AJR.09.2858
PMCID: PMC3676673  PMID: 20028932
biopsy; lung cancer; molecular typing; personalized medicine; targeted therapy
15.  Brief report: Screening for germline EGFR T790M mutations through lung cancer genotyping 
Journal of Thoracic Oncology  2012;7(6):1049-1052.
Introduction
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1097/JTO.0b013e318250ed9d
PMCID: PMC3354706  PMID: 22588155
Familial lung cancer; EGFR mutations; genetic susceptibility; T790M
16.  Complications of Targeted Drug Therapies for Solid Malignancies: Manifestations and Mechanisms 
OBJECTIVE
This article reviews important complications of targeted drug therapies for solid malignancies that can be identified on diagnostic imaging. Wherever possible, known or proposed mechanistic explanations for drug complications are emphasized.
CONCLUSION
Familiarity with the toxicity profiles of different targeted cancer therapies is important for identifying drug-related complications and for differentiating drug effects from disease progression. A mechanistic understanding may be useful for associating individual drugs with their complications and for predicting the complications of emerging agents.
doi:10.2214/AJR.12.9049
PMCID: PMC3652983  PMID: 23436834
bevacizumab; drug toxicities; imatinib; ipilimumab; targeted agents; temsirolimus; vemurafenib
17.  New Approaches to Targeted Therapy in Lung Cancer 
This brief report summarizes Dr. Pao's talk at the 54th Annual Meeting of the Thomas L. Petty Aspen Lung Conference, in Aspen, Colorado, on June 11, 2011. In this talk, Dr. Pao discussed three main topics: (1) DETECT (DNA Evaluation of Tumors for Enhanced Cancer Treatment), (2) MyCancerGenome.org (web-based decision support), and (3) DIRECT (DNA-mutation Inventory to Refine and Enhance Cancer Treatment).
doi:10.1513/pats.201112-054MS
PMCID: PMC3359104  PMID: 22550248
lung cancer; driver mutations; targeted therapy; MyCancerGenome
18.  Frequency of driver mutations in lung adenocarcinoma from female never-smokers varies with histological subtypes and age at diagnosis 
Clinical Cancer Research  2012;18(7):1947-1953.
Purpose
Our previous study revealed that 90% (47 of 52; 95% CI: 0.79–0.96) of Chinese never-smokers with lung adenocarcinoma harbor known oncogenic driver mutations in just four genes: EGFR, ALK, HER2, and KRAS. Here, we examined the status of known driver mutations specifically in female never-smokers with lung adenocarcinoma.
Experimental Design
Tumors were genotyped for mutations in EGFR, KRAS, ALK, HER2, and BRAF. Data on age, stage, tumor differentiation, histological subtypes, and molecular alterations were recorded from 349 resected lung adenocarcinomas from female never-smokers. We further compared the clinicopathological parameters according to mutational status of these genes.
Results
Two hundred and sixty-six (76.2%) tumors harbored EGFR mutations, 16 (4.6%) HER2 mutations, 15 (4.3%) EML4-ALK fusions, seven (2.0%) KRAS mutations, and two (0.6%) BRAF mutations. In univariate analysis, patients harboring EGFR mutations were significantly older (p<0.001), whereas patients harboring HER2 mutations were significantly younger (p=0.036). Higher prevalence of KRAS (p=0.028) and HER2 (p=0.021) mutations was found in invasive mucinous adenocarcinoma (IMA). The frequency of EGFR mutations was positively correlated with acinar predominant tumors (p=0.002). Multivariate analysis revealed that older age at diagnosis (p=0.013) and acinar predominant subtype (p=0.005) were independent predictors of EGFR mutations. Independent predictors of HER2 mutations included younger age (p=0.030) and IMA (p=0.017). IMA (p=0.006) and poor differentiation (p=0.028) were independently associated with KRAS mutations.
Conclusions
The frequency of driver mutations in never-smoking female lung adenocarcinoma varies with histological subtypes and age at diagnosis. These data have implications for both clinical trial design and therapeutic strategies.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-11-2511
PMCID: PMC3319848  PMID: 22317764
Lung adenocarcinoma; Female; Never smoker; EGFR mutation; HER2 mutation; Acinar; Mucinous; Age
19.  ROS1 Rearrangements Define a Unique Molecular Class of Lung Cancers  
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2012;30(8):863-870.
Purpose
Chromosomal rearrangements involving the ROS1 receptor tyrosine kinase gene have recently been described in a subset of non–small-cell lung cancers (NSCLCs). Because little is known about these tumors, we examined the clinical characteristics and treatment outcomes of patients with NSCLC with ROS1 rearrangement.
Patients and Methods
Using a ROS1 fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) assay, we screened 1,073 patients with NSCLC and correlated ROS1 rearrangement status with clinical characteristics, overall survival, and when available, ALK rearrangement status. In vitro studies assessed the responsiveness of cells with ROS1 rearrangement to the tyrosine kinase inhibitor crizotinib. The clinical response of one patient with ROS1-rearranged NSCLC to crizotinib was investigated as part of an expanded phase I cohort.
Results
Of 1,073 tumors screened, 18 (1.7%) were ROS1 rearranged by FISH, and 31 (2.9%) were ALK rearranged. Compared with the ROS1-negative group, patients with ROS1 rearrangements were significantly younger and more likely to be never-smokers (each P < .001). All of the ROS1-positive tumors were adenocarcinomas, with a tendency toward higher grade. ROS1-positive and -negative groups showed no difference in overall survival. The HCC78 ROS1-rearranged NSCLC cell line and 293 cells transfected with CD74-ROS1 showed evidence of sensitivity to crizotinib. The patient treated with crizotinib showed tumor shrinkage, with a near complete response.
Conclusion
ROS1 rearrangement defines a molecular subset of NSCLC with distinct clinical characteristics that are similar to those observed in patients with ALK-rearranged NSCLC. Crizotinib shows in vitro activity and early evidence of clinical activity in ROS1-rearranged NSCLC.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2011.35.6345
PMCID: PMC3295572  PMID: 22215748
20.  EGFR mutant lung adenocarcinomas treated first-line with the novel EGFR inhibitor, XL647, can subsequently retain moderate sensitivity to erlotinib 
Journal of Thoracic Oncology  2012;7(2):434-442.
Introduction
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1097/JTO.0b013e31823c5aee
PMCID: PMC3261336  PMID: 22173702
non-small cell lung cancer; EGFR mutations; XL647; EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors; acquired resistance; gefitinib; erlotinib; afatinib
21.  “Pulsatile” high-dose weekly erlotinib for CNS metastases from EGFR mutant non-small cell lung cancer 
Neuro-Oncology  2011;13(12):1364-1369.
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.
doi:10.1093/neuonc/nor121
PMCID: PMC3223088  PMID: 21865399
CNS metastases; EGFR; erlotinib; lung cancer; pulsatile dosing
22.  Optimization of Dosing for EGFR-Mutant Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer with Evolutionary Cancer Modeling 
Science translational medicine  2011;3(90):90ra59.
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.
doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.3002356
PMCID: PMC3500629  PMID: 21734175
23.  Maintained sensitivity to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors in EGFR-mutant lung cancer recurring after adjuvant erlotinib or gefitinib 
Purpose
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.
Experimental design
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.
Results
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%).
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-11-1080
PMCID: PMC3186869  PMID: 21831955
Non-small cell lung cancer; adjuvant; EGFR; tyrosine kinase inhibitor; T790M
24.  2011 Focused Update of 2009 American Society of Clinical Oncology Clinical Practice Guideline Update on Chemotherapy for Stage IV Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2011;29(28):3825-3831.
Purpose
An American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) focused update updates a single recommendation (or subset of recommendations) in advance of a regularly scheduled guideline update. This document updates one recommendation of the ASCO Guideline Update on Chemotherapy for Stage IV Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) regarding switch maintenance chemotherapy.
Clinical Context
Recent results from phase III clinical trials have demonstrated that in patients with stage IV NSCLC who have received four cycles of first-line chemotherapy and whose disease has not progressed, an immediate switch to alternative, single-agent chemotherapy can extend progression-free survival and, in some cases, overall survival. Because of limitations in the data, delayed treatment with a second-line agent after disease progression is also acceptable.
Recent Data
Seven randomized controlled trials of carboxyaminoimidazole, docetaxel, erlotinib, gefitinib, gemcitabine, and pemetrexed have evaluated outcomes in patients who received an immediate, non–cross resistant alternative therapy (switch maintenance) after first-line therapy.
Recommendation
In patients with stage IV NSCLC, first-line cytotoxic chemotherapy should be stopped at disease progression or after four cycles in patients whose disease is stable but not responding to treatment. Two-drug cytotoxic combinations should be administered for no more than six cycles. For those with stable disease or response after four cycles, immediate treatment with an alternative, single-agent chemotherapy such as pemetrexed in patients with nonsquamous histology, docetaxel in unselected patients, or erlotinib in unselected patients may be considered. Limitations of this data are such that a break from cytotoxic chemotherapy after a fixed course is also acceptable, with initiation of second-line chemotherapy at disease progression.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2010.34.2774
PMCID: PMC3675703  PMID: 21900105
25.  New Strategies in Overcoming Acquired Resistance to EGFR Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors in Lung Cancer 
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.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-10-2571
PMCID: PMC3166976  PMID: 21775534

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