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author:("baron, Miquel")
1.  Clinical Validation of a PCR Assay for the Detection of EGFR Mutations in Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer: Retrospective Testing of Specimens from the EURTAC Trial 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89518.
The EURTAC trial demonstrated that the tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) erlotinib was superior to chemotherapy as first-line therapy for advanced non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) that harbor EGFR activating mutations in a predominantly Caucasian population. Based on EURTAC and several Asian trials, anti-EGFR TKIs are standard of care for EGFR mutation-positive NSCLC. We sought to validate a rapid multiplex EGFR mutation assay as a companion diagnostic assay to select patients for this therapy. Samples from the EURTAC trial were prospectively screened for EGFR mutations using a combination of laboratory-developed tests (LDTs), and tested retrospectively with the cobas EGFR mutation test (EGFR PCR test). The EGFR PCR test results were compared to the original LDT results and to Sanger sequencing, using a subset of specimens from patients screened for the trial. Residual tissue was available from 487 (47%) of the 1044 patients screened for the trial. The EGFR PCR test showed high concordance with LDT results with a 96.3% overall agreement. The clinical outcome of patients who were EGFR-mutation detected by the EGFR PCR test was very similar to the entire EURTAC cohort. The concordance between the EGFR PCR test and Sanger sequencing was 90.6%. In 78.9% of the discordant samples, the EGFR PCR test result was confirmed by a sensitive deep sequencing assay. This retrospective study demonstrates the clinical utility of the EGFR PCR test in the accurate selection of patients for anti-EGFR TKI therapy. The EGFR PCR test demonstrated improved performance relative to Sanger sequencing.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0089518
PMCID: PMC3934888  PMID: 24586842
2.  The predictive value of 53BP1 and BRCA1 mRNA expression in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer patients treated with first-line platinum-based chemotherapy 
Oncotarget  2013;4(10):1572-1581.
Platinum-based chemotherapy is the standard first-line treatment for non-oncogene-addicted non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) and the analysis of multiple DNA repair genes could improve current models for predicting chemosensitivity. We investigated the potential predictive role of components of the 53BP1 pathway in conjunction with BRCA1. The mRNA expression of BRCA1, MDC1, CASPASE3, UBC13, RNF8, 53BP1, PIAS4, UBC9 and MMSET was analyzed by real-time PCR in 115 advanced NSCLC patients treated with first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. Patients expressing low levels of both BRCA1 and 53BP1 obtained a median progression-free survival of 10.3 months and overall survival of 19.3 months, while among those with low BRCA1 and high 53BP1 progression-free survival was 5.9 months (P <0.0001) and overall survival was 8.2 months (P=0.001). The expression of 53BP1 refines BRCA1-based predictive modeling to identify patients most likely to benefit from platinum-based chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3858546  PMID: 24197907
BRCA1; 53BP1; DNA repair; predictive modeling; platinum
3.  Activation of the AXL Kinase Causes Resistance to EGFR-Targeted Therapy in Lung Cancer 
Nature genetics  2012;44(8):852-860.
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.
doi:10.1038/ng.2330
PMCID: PMC3408577  PMID: 22751098
4.  FAS and NF-κB signalling modulate dependence of lung cancers on mutant EGFR 
Nature  2011;471(7339):523-526.
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.
doi:10.1038/nature09870
PMCID: PMC3541675  PMID: 21430781
5.  Mouse p53-Deficient Cancer Models as Platforms for Obtaining Genomic Predictors of Human Cancer Clinical Outcomes 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e42494.
Mutations in the TP53 gene are very common in human cancers, and are associated with poor clinical outcome. Transgenic mouse models lacking the Trp53 gene or that express mutant Trp53 transgenes produce tumours with malignant features in many organs. We previously showed the transcriptome of a p53-deficient mouse skin carcinoma model to be similar to those of human cancers with TP53 mutations and associated with poor clinical outcomes. This report shows that much of the 682-gene signature of this murine skin carcinoma transcriptome is also present in breast and lung cancer mouse models in which p53 is inhibited. Further, we report validated gene-expression-based tests for predicting the clinical outcome of human breast and lung adenocarcinoma. It was found that human patients with cancer could be stratified based on the similarity of their transcriptome with the mouse skin carcinoma 682-gene signature. The results also provide new targets for the treatment of p53-defective tumours.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042494
PMCID: PMC3413665  PMID: 22880004
6.  Genome-Wide Association Study of Survival in Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients Receiving Platinum-Based Chemotherapy 
Background
Interindividual variation in genetic background may influence the response to chemotherapy and overall survival for patients with advanced-stage non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Methods
To identify genetic variants associated with poor overall survival in these patients, we conducted a genome-wide scan of 307 260 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 327 advanced-stage NSCLC patients who received platinum-based chemotherapy with or without radiation at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (the discovery population). A fast-track replication was performed for 315 patients from the Mayo Clinic followed by a second validation at the University of Pittsburgh in 420 patients enrolled in the Spanish Lung Cancer Group PLATAX clinical trial. A pooled analysis combining the Mayo Clinic and PLATAX populations or all three populations was also used to validate the results. We assessed the association of each SNP with overall survival by multivariable Cox proportional hazard regression analysis. All statistical tests were two-sided.
Results
SNP rs1878022 in the chemokine-like receptor 1 (CMKLR1) was statistically significantly associated with poor overall survival in the MD Anderson discovery population (hazard ratio [HR] of death = 1.59, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.32 to 1.92, P = 1.42 × 10−6), in the PLATAX clinical trial (HR of death = 1.23, 95% CI = 1.00 to 1.51, P = .05), in the pooled Mayo Clinic and PLATAX validation (HR of death = 1.22, 95% CI = 1.06 to 1.40, P = .005), and in pooled analysis of all three populations (HR of death = 1.33, 95% CI = 1.19 to 1.48, P = 5.13 × 10−7). Carrying a variant genotype of rs10937823 was associated with decreased overall survival (HR of death = 1.82, 95% CI = 1.42 to 2.33, P = 1.73 × 10−6) in the pooled MD Anderson and Mayo Clinic populations but not in the PLATAX trial patient population (HR of death = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.69 to 1.35).
Conclusion
These results have the potential to contribute to the future development of personalized chemotherapy treatments for individual NSCLC patients.
doi:10.1093/jnci/djr075
PMCID: PMC3096796  PMID: 21483023
7.  mRNA expression levels and genetic status of genes involved in the EGFR and NF-κB pathways in metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer patients 
Background
Metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has a dismal prognosis. EGFR is overexpressed or mutated in a large proportion of cases. Downstream components of the EGFR pathway and crosstalk with the NF-κB pathway have not been examined at the clinical level. We explored the prognostic significance of the mRNA expression of nine genes in the EGFR and NF-κB pathways and of BRCA1 and RAP80 in patients in whom EGFR and K-ras gene status had previously been determined. In addition, NFKBIA and DUSP22 gene status was also determined.
Methods
mRNA expression of the eleven genes was determined by QPCR in 60 metastatic NSCLC patients and in nine lung cancer cell lines. Exon 3 of NFKBIA and exon 6 of DUSP22 were analyzed by direct sequencing. Results were correlated with outcome to platinum-based chemotherapy in patients with wild-type EGFR and to erlotinib in those with EGFR mutations.
Results
BRCA1 mRNA expression was correlated with EZH2, AEG-1, Musashi-2, CYLD and TRAF6 expression. In patients with low levels of both BRCA1 and AEG-1, PFS was 13.02 months, compared to 5.4 months in those with high levels of both genes and 7.7 months for those with other combinations (P = 0.025). The multivariate analysis for PFS confirmed the prognostic role of high BRCA1/AEG-1 expression (HR, 3.1; P = 0.01). Neither NFKBIA nor DUSP22 mutations were found in any of the tumour samples or cell lines.
Conclusions
The present study provides a better understanding of the behaviour of metastatic NSCLC and identifies the combination of BRCA1 and AEG-1 expression as a potential prognostic model.
doi:10.1186/1479-5876-9-163
PMCID: PMC3203857  PMID: 21951562
8.  Detection of EGFR mutations with mutation-specific antibodies in stage IV non-small-cell lung cancer 
Background
Immunohistochemistry (IHC) with mutation-specific antibodies may be an ancillary method of detecting EGFR mutations in lung cancer patients.
Methods
EGFR mutation status was analyzed by DNA assays, and compared with IHC results in five non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines and tumor samples from 78 stage IV NSCLC patients.
Results
IHC correctly identified del 19 in the H1650 and PC9 cell lines, L858R in H1975, and wild-type EGFR in H460 and A549, as well as wild-type EGFR in tumor samples from 22 patients. IHC with the mAb against EGFR with del 19 was highly positive for the protein in all 17 patients with a 15-bp (ELREA) deletion in exon 19, whereas in patients with other deletions, IHC was weakly positive in 3 cases and negative in 9 cases. IHC with the mAb against the L858R mutation showed high positivity for the protein in 25/27 (93%) patients with exon 21 EGFR mutations (all with L858R) but did not identify the L861Q mutation in the remaining two patients.
Conclusions
IHC with mutation-specific mAbs against EGFR is a promising method for detecting EGFR mutations in NSCLC patients. However these mAbs should be validated with additional studies to clarify their possible role in routine clinical practice for screening EGFR mutations in NSCLC patients.
doi:10.1186/1479-5876-8-135
PMCID: PMC3016260  PMID: 21167064
9.  The Prognostic Value of BRCA1 mRNA Expression Levels Following Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy in Breast Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(3):e9499.
Background
A fraction of sporadic breast cancers has low BRCA1 expression. BRCA1 mutation carriers are more likely to achieve a pathological complete response with DNA-damage-based chemotherapy compared to non-mutation carriers. Furthermore, sporadic ovarian cancer patients with low levels of BRCA1 mRNA have longer survival following platinum-based chemotherapy than patients with high levels of BRCA1 mRNA.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Tumor biopsies were obtained from 86 breast cancer patients who were candidates for neoadjuvant chemotherapy, treated with four cycles of neoadjuvant fluorouracil, epirubicin and cyclophosphamide. Estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), HER2, cytokeratin 5/6 and vimentin were examined by tissue microarray. HER2 were also assessed by chromogenic in situ hybridization, and BRCA1 mRNA was analyzed in a subset of 41 patients for whom sufficient tumor tissue was available by real-time quantitative PCR. Median time to progression was 42 months and overall survival was 55 months. In the multivariate analysis for time to progression and overall survival for 41 patients in whom BRCA1 could be assessed, low levels of BRCA1 mRNA, positive PR and negative lymph node involvement predicted a significantly lower risk of relapse, low levels of BRCA1 mRNA and positive PR were the only variables associated with significantly longer survival.
Conclusions/Significance
We provide evidence for a major role for BRCA1 mRNA expression as a marker of time to progression and overall survival in sporadic breast cancers treated with anthracycline-based chemotherapy. These findings can be useful for customizing chemotherapy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009499
PMCID: PMC2831058  PMID: 20209131
10.  Customized Treatment in Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Based on EGFR Mutations and BRCA1 mRNA Expression 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(5):e5133.
Background
Median survival is 10 months and 2-year survival is 20% in metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with platinum-based chemotherapy. A small fraction of non-squamous cell lung cancers harbor EGFR mutations, with improved outcome to gefitinib and erlotinib. Experimental evidence suggests that BRCA1 overexpression enhances sensitivity to docetaxel and resistance to cisplatin. RAP80 and Abraxas are interacting proteins that form complexes with BRCA1 and could modulate the effect of BRCA1. In order to further examine the effect of EGFR mutations and BRCA1 mRNA levels on outcome in advanced NSCLC, we performed a prospective non-randomized phase II clinical trial, testing the hypothesis that customized therapy would confer improved outcome over non-customized therapy. In an exploratory analysis, we also examined the effect of RAP80 and Abraxas mRNA levels.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We treated 123 metastatic non-squamous cell lung carcinoma patients using a customized approach. RNA and DNA were isolated from microdissected specimens from paraffin-embedded tumor tissue. Patients with EGFR mutations received erlotinib, and those without EGFR mutations received chemotherapy with or without cisplatin based on their BRCA1 mRNA levels: low, cisplatin plus gemcitabine; intermediate, cisplatin plus docetaxel; high, docetaxel alone. An exploratory analysis examined RAP80 and Abraxas expression. Median survival exceeded 28 months for 12 patients with EGFR mutations, and was 11 months for 38 patients with low BRCA1, 9 months for 40 patients with intermediate BRCA1, and 11 months for 33 patients with high BRCA1. Two-year survival was 73.3%, 41.2%, 15.6% and 0%, respectively. Median survival was influenced by RAP80 expression in the three BRCA1 groups. For example, for patients with both low BRCA1 and low RAP80, median survival exceeded 26 months. RAP80 was a significant factor for survival in patients treated according to BRCA1 levels (hazard ratio, 1.3 [95% CI, 1–1.7]; P = 0.05).
Conclusions/Significance
Chemotherapy customized according to BRCA1 expression levels is associated with excellent median and 2-year survival for some subsets of NSCLC patients , and RAP80 could play a crucial modulating effect on this model of customized chemotherapy.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00883480
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005133
PMCID: PMC2673583  PMID: 19415121
11.  Tumor BRCA1, RRM1 and RRM2 mRNA Expression Levels and Clinical Response to First-Line Gemcitabine plus Docetaxel in Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Patients 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(11):e3695.
Background
Overexpression of RRM1 and RRM2 has been associated with gemcitabine resistance. BRCA1 overexpression increases sensitivity to paclitaxel and docetaxel. We have retrospectively examined the effect of RRM1, RRM2 and BRCA1 expression on outcome to gemcitabine plus docetaxel in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients.
Methodology and Principal Findings
Tumor samples were collected from 102 chemotherapy-naïve advanced NSCLC patients treated with gemcitabine plus docetaxel as part of a randomized trial. RRM1, RRM2 and BRCA1 mRNA levels were assessed by quantitative PCR and correlated with response, time to progression and survival. As BRCA1 levels increased, the probability of response increased (Odds Ratio [OR], 1.09: p = 0.01) and the risk of progression decreased (hazard ratio [HR], 0.99; p = 0.36). As RRM1 and RRM2 levels increased, the probability of response decreased (RRM1: OR, 0.97; p = 0.82; RRM2: OR, 0.94; p<0.0001) and the risk of progression increased (RRM1: HR, 1.02; p = 0.001; RRM2: HR, 1.005; p = 0.01). An interaction observed between BRCA1 and RRM1 allowed patients to be classified in three risk groups according to combinations of gene expression levels, with times to progression of 10.13, 4.17 and 2.30 months (p = 0.001). Low BRCA1 expression was the only factor significantly associated with longer time to progression in 31 patients receiving cisplatin-based second-line therapy.
Conclusions
The mRNA expression of BRCA1, RRM1 and RRM2 is potentially a useful tool for selecting NSCLC patients for individualized chemotherapy and warrants further investigation in prospective studies.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003695
PMCID: PMC2579656  PMID: 19002265
12.  BRCA1: A Novel Prognostic Factor in Resected Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(11):e1129.
Background
Although early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is considered a potentially curable disease following complete resection, patients have a wide spectrum of survival according to stage (IB, II, IIIA). Within each stage, gene expression profiles can identify patients with a higher risk of recurrence. We hypothesized that altered mRNA expression in nine genes could help to predict disease outcome: excision repair cross-complementing 1 (ERCC1), myeloid zinc finger 1 (MZF1) and Twist1 (which regulate N-cadherin expression), ribonucleotide reductase subunit M1 (RRM1), thioredoxin-1 (TRX1), tyrosyl-DNA phosphodiesterase (Tdp1), nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT), BRCA1, and the human homolog of yeast budding uninhibited by benzimidazole (BubR1).
Methodology and Principal Findings
We performed real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-QPCR) in frozen lung cancer tissue specimens from 126 chemonaive NSCLC patients who had undergone surgical resection and evaluated the association between gene expression levels and survival. For validation, we used paraffin-embedded specimens from 58 other NSCLC patients. A strong inter-gene correlation was observed between expression levels of all genes except NFAT. A Cox proportional hazards model indicated that along with disease stage, BRCA1 mRNA expression significantly correlated with overall survival (hazard ratio [HR], 1.98 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.11-6]; P = 0.02). In the independent cohort of 58 patients, BRCA1 mRNA expression also significantly correlated with survival (HR, 2.4 [95%CI, 1.01-5.92]; P = 0.04).
Conclusions
Overexpression of BRCA1 mRNA was strongly associated with poor survival in NSCLC patients, and the validation of this finding in an independent data set further strengthened this association. Since BRCA1 mRNA expression has previously been linked to differential sensitivity to cisplatin and antimicrotubule drugs, BRCA1 mRNA expression may provide additional information for customizing adjuvant antimicrotubule-based chemotherapy, especially in stage IB, where the role of adjuvant chemotherapy has not been clearly demonstrated.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001129
PMCID: PMC2042516  PMID: 17987116
13.  c-Met Mutational Analysis in the Sema and Juxtamembrane Domains in Small-Cell-Lung-Cancer 
Background:
c-Met mutations play a critical role in the development and progression of primary tumors and metastases. Activation of the HGF/SF-c-Met pathway determines a poor prognosis in non-small-cell and small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) patients. Missense mutations of c-Met have been identified in SCLC patients located in the juxtamembrane (JM) and in the Sema domain. To determine the role of the c-Met pathway in SCLC, we have investigated the presence of c-Met mutations in SCLC patients.
Patients and methods:
Forty-four tumor tissue samples from SCLC patients were obtained with bronchoscopy before beginning treatment. Analysis of c-Met mutations was performed in exon 2 and exon 14.
Results:
Of the 44 patients included in this study, 23 were classified as limited disease and were treated with sequential or concurrent chemotherapy and thoracic radiotherapy. Twenty-one patients with extensive disease received chemotherapy alone, the majority with cisplatin or carboplatin plus etoposide. The median survival was 14 months (95% CI: 9.4 to 18.5 months) and the 2- and 5-year survival rates were 24% and 15%, respectively. Previously identified missense mutations E168D, R988C and T1010I in c-Met were not found in our study. However, novel mutations were identified, including T995I in the juxtamembrane domain (T995I) and a mutation which does not change amino acid in codon 178 in the Sema domain.
Conclusion:
In SCLC patients, the presence of mutations in c-Met gene is a rare event. Other genetic alterations involved in the HGF/SF-c-Met pathway should be assessed to define the role of this signaling pathway in SCLC.
PMCID: PMC3642244  PMID: 23662036

Results 1-13 (13)