Detection of Rearrangements and Transcriptional Up-Regulation of ALK in FFPE Lung Cancer Specimens Using a Novel, Sensitive, Quantitative Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction Assay.
ABSTRACT The approved dual-color fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) test for the detection of anaplastic lymphoma receptor tyrosine kinase (ALK) gene rearrangements in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is complex and represents a low-throughput assay difficult to use in daily diagnostic practice. We devised a sensitive and robust routine diagnostic test for the detection of rearrangements and transcriptional up-regulation of ALK.
We developed a quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) assay adapted to RNA isolated from routine formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded material and applied it to 652 NSCLC specimens. The reliability of this technique to detect ALK dysregulation was shown by comparison with FISH and immunohistochemistry.
qRT-PCR analysis detected unbalanced ALK expression indicative of a gene rearrangement in 24 (4.6%) and full-length ALK transcript expression in six (1.1%) of 523 interpretable tumors. Among 182 tumors simultaneously analyzed by FISH and qRT-PCR, the latter accurately typed 97% of 19 rearranged and 158 nonrearranged tumors and identified ALK deregulation in two cases with insufficient FISH. Six tumors expressing full-length ALK transcripts did not show rearrangements of the gene. Immunohistochemistry detected ALK protein overexpression in tumors with gene fusions and transcriptional up-regulation, but did not distinguish between the two. One case with full-length ALK expression carried a heterozygous point mutation (S1220Y) within the kinase domain potentially interfering with kinase activity and/or inhibitor binding.
Our qRT-PCR assay reliably identifies and distinguishes ALK rearrangements and full-length transcript expression in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded material. It is an easy-to-perform, cost-effective, and high-throughput tool for the diagnosis of ALK activation. The expression of full-length ALK transcripts may be relevant for ALK inhibitor therapy in NSCLC.
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ABSTRACT: In the past several years we have observed a significant increase in our understanding of molecular mechanisms that drive lung cancer. Specifically in the non-small cell lung cancer sub-types, ALK gene rearrangements represent a sub-group of tumors that are targetable by the tyrosine kinase inhibitor Crizotinib, resulting in significant reductions in tumor burden. Phase II and III clinical trials were performed using an ALK break-apart FISH probe kit, making FISH the gold standard for identifying ALK rearrangements in patients. FISH is often considered a labor and cost intensive molecular technique, and in this study we aimed to demonstrate feasibility for automation of ALK FISH testing, to improve laboratory workflow and ease of testing. This involved automation of the pre-treatment steps of the ALK assay using various protocols on the VP 2000 instrument, and facilitating automated scanning of the fluorescent FISH specimens for simplified enumeration on various backend scanning and analysis systems. The results indicated that ALK FISH can be automated. Significantly, both the Ikoniscope and BioView system of automated FISH scanning and analysis systems provided a robust analysis algorithm to define ALK rearrangements. In addition, the BioView system facilitated consultation of difficult cases via the internet. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.Experimental and Molecular Pathology 01/2015; 98(1). DOI:10.1016/j.yexmp.2015.01.005 · 2.88 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT The discovery of diverse driver mutations in lung cancer has heralded a new era of personalized medicine in thoracic oncology, with targeted therapies approved for specific subgroups of patients. The increasing number of patient subgroups that may respond to targeted therapy has resulted in a greater reliance upon effective and increasingly complex diagnostics, which must be interpreted in an interactive multidisciplinary forum. This review discusses the molecular diagnostics available and under development for established and emerging targets, and how these may be integrated into current treatment algorithms. The roles of the pulmonologist, interventional radiologist, thoracic surgeon and molecular pathologist are discussed, and their interactions with the medical oncologist, and/or thoracic surgeon and radiation oncologist in making individual treatment decisions.Future Oncology 02/2015; 11(3):489-500. DOI:10.2217/fon.14.275 · 2.61 Impact Factor