ROS1 and ALK Fusions in Colorectal Cancer, with Evidence of Intratumoral Heterogeneity for Molecular Drivers

1University of Colorado Cancer Center.
Molecular Cancer Research (Impact Factor: 4.5). 12/2013; 12(1). DOI: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-13-0479-T
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Activated ALK and ROS1 tyrosine kinases, through gene fusions, has been found in lung adenocarcinomas and are highly sensitive to selective kinase inhibitors. This study aimed at identifying the presence of these rearrangements in human colorectal adenocarcinoma (CRC) specimens using a 4-target, 4-color break-apart fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assay to simultaneously determine the genomic status of ALK and ROS1. Among the clinical CRC specimens analyzed, rearrangement-positive cases for both ALK and ROS1 were observed. The fusion partner for ALK was identified as EML4 and the fusion partner for one of the ROS1-positive cases was SLC34A2, the partner for the other ROS1-positive case remains to be identified. A small fraction of specimens presented duplicated or clustered copies of native ALK and ROS1. In addition, rearrangements were detected in samples that also harbored KRAS and BRAF mutations in two of the three cases. Interestingly, the ALK-positive specimen displayed marked intra-tumoral heterogeneity and rearrangement was also identified in regions of high-grade dysplasia. Despite the additional oncogenic events and tumor heterogeneity observed, elucidation of the first cases of ROS1 rearrangements and confirmation of ALK rearrangements support further evaluation of these genomic fusions as potential therapeutic targets in CRC. Implications: ROS1 and ALK fusions occur in colorectal cancer and may have substantial impact in therapy selection.

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