[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Assessment of therapeutic activity of drugs blocking immune checkpoints such as CTLA-4 and PD-1/PD-L1 can be challenging, as tumors may seem to enlarge or appear anew before regressing, due to intratumoral inflammation. We assessed whether circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) levels could serve as an early indicator of true changes in tumor burden in patients undergoing treatment with these agents.
Tumors from 12 patients with metastatic melanoma undergoing treatment with checkpoint blocking drugs were analyzed for the presence of hotspot somatic mutations in BRAF, cKIT, NRAS, and TERT. Plasma was collected serially from each patient and levels of ctDNA were compared with radiologic and clinical outcomes. In 5 of 10 patients studied, mutations were detected in BRAF(1), NRAS(2), TERT(1) and ALK(1). Analysis of plasma from 4 of 5 patients identified mutations identical to those found in tumor specimens. Plasma ctDNA levels ranged from undetectable (<0.01%) to 5.5% of total circulating cell-free DNA. In 3 patients, increasing ctDNA levels correlated with progressive disease assessed by radiography. In one patient, ctDNA levels increased after undergoing a needle biopsy of a tumor deposit. In another patient, ctDNA levels increased initially as lymphadenopathy progressed by examination, but then became undetectable 3 weeks prior to clinical improvement.
Levels of ctDNA correlated with clinical and radiologic outcomes, and, in one case, preceded eventual tumor regression. Further prospective analysis is required to assess the utility of ctDNA as an early biomarker of clinical outcomes in patients receiving immune checkpoint blocking drugs.
Journal for immunotherapy of cancer. 12/2014; 2(1):42.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neurofibromatosis 1 is a hereditary syndrome characterized by the development of numerous benign neurofibromas, a small subset of which progress to malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs). To better understand the genetic basis for MPNSTs, we performed genome-wide or targeted sequencing on 50 cases. Sixteen MPNSTs but none of the neurofibromas tested were found to have somatic mutations in SUZ12, implicating it as having a central role in malignant transformation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malignant mixed Müllerian tumours, also known as carcinosarcomas, are rare tumours of gynaecological origin. Here we perform whole-exome analyses of 22 tumours using massively parallel sequencing to determine the mutational landscape of this tumour type. On average, we identify 43 mutations per tumour, excluding four cases with a mutator phenotype that harboured inactivating mutations in mismatch repair genes. In addition to mutations in TP53 and KRAS, we identify genetic alterations in chromatin remodelling genes, ARID1A and ARID1B, in histone methyltransferase MLL3, in histone deacetylase modifier SPOP and in chromatin assembly factor BAZ1A, in nearly two thirds of cases. Alterations in genes with potential clinical utility are observed in more than three quarters of the cases and included members of the PI3-kinase and homologous DNA repair pathways. These findings highlight the importance of the dysregulation of chromatin remodelling in carcinosarcoma tumorigenesis and suggest new avenues for personalized therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The development of minimally-invasive methods to detect and monitor tumors continues to be a major challenge in oncology. We used digital PCR-based technologies to evaluate the ability of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) to detect tumors in 640 patients with various cancer types. In particular we studied the plasma of 14 medulloblastoma, 13 WHO grade 2-3 glioma and 14 WHO grade IV astrocytoma cases for levels of ctDNA.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The development of noninvasive methods to detect and monitor tumors continues to be a major challenge in oncology. We used digital polymerase chain reaction-based technologies to evaluate the ability of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) to detect tumors in 640 patients with various cancer types. We found that ctDNA was detectable in >75% of patients with advanced pancreatic, ovarian, colorectal, bladder, gastroesophageal, breast, melanoma, hepatocellular, and head and neck cancers, but in less than 50% of primary brain, renal, prostate, or thyroid cancers. In patients with localized tumors, ctDNA was detected in 73, 57, 48, and 50% of patients with colorectal cancer, gastroesophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer, and breast adenocarcinoma, respectively. ctDNA was often present in patients without detectable circulating tumor cells, suggesting that these two biomarkers are distinct entities. In a separate panel of 206 patients with metastatic colorectal cancers, we showed that the sensitivity of ctDNA for detection of clinically relevant KRAS gene mutations was 87.2% and its specificity was 99.2%. Finally, we assessed whether ctDNA could provide clues into the mechanisms underlying resistance to epidermal growth factor receptor blockade in 24 patients who objectively responded to therapy but subsequently relapsed. Twenty-three (96%) of these patients developed one or more mutations in genes involved in the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway. Together, these data suggest that ctDNA is a broadly applicable, sensitive, and specific biomarker that can be used for a variety of clinical and research purposes in patients with multiple different types of cancer.
Science translational medicine 02/2014; 6(224):224ra24. · 14.41 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Assessment of somatic genomic alterations from tumors can now be performed by sequencing circulating tumor DNA from the cell-free component of blood. This procedure, which identifies tumor-derived somatic mutations from a simple blood sample, circumvents the need for tumor tissue. A recent study highlights the promise of circulating tumor DNA to guide therapeutic decisions in a variety of solid tumors for both clinical and investigative purposes, as well as providing a tool for the early detection of cancer.
Genome Medicine 01/2014; 6(5):35. · 4.94 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: EGF receptor (EGFR)-targeted monoclonal antibodies are effective in a subset of metastatic colorectal cancers. Inevitably, all patients develop resistance, which occurs through emergence of KRAS mutations in approximately 50% of the cases. We show that amplification of the MET proto-oncogene is associated with acquired resistance in tumors that do not develop KRAS mutations during anti-EGFR therapy. Amplification of the MET locus was present in circulating tumor DNA before relapse was clinically evident. Functional studies show that MET activation confers resistance to anti-EGFR therapy both in vitro and in vivo. Notably, in patient-derived colorectal cancer xenografts, MET amplification correlated with resistance to EGFR blockade, which could be overcome by MET kinase inhibitors. These results highlight the role of MET in mediating primary and secondary resistance to anti-EGFR therapies in colorectal cancer and encourage the use of MET inhibitors in patients displaying resistance as a result of MET amplification.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Context:Medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) is a rare thyroid cancer that can occur sporadically or as part of a hereditary syndrome.Objective:To explore the genetic origin of MTC, we sequenced the protein coding exons of approximately 21,000 genes in 17 sporadic MTCs.Patients and Design:We sequenced the exomes of 17 sporadic MTCs and validated the frequency of all recurrently mutated genes and other genes of interest in an independent cohort of 40 MTCs comprised of both sporadic and hereditary MTC.Results:We discovered 305 high-confidence mutations in the 17 sporadic MTCs in the discovery phase, or approximately 17.9 somatic mutations per tumor. Mutations in RET, HRAS, and KRAS genes were identified as the principal driver mutations in MTC. All of the other additional somatic mutations, including mutations in spliceosome and DNA repair pathways, were not recurrent in additional tumors. Tumors without RET, HRAS, or KRAS mutations appeared to have significantly fewer mutations overall in protein coding exons.Conclusions:Approximately 90% of MTCs had mutually exclusive mutations in RET, HRAS, and KRAS, suggesting that RET and RAS are the predominant driver pathways in MTC. Relatively few mutations overall and no commonly recurrent driver mutations other than RET, HRAS, and KRAS were seen in the MTC exome.
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 12/2012; · 6.31 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neuroblastomas are tumors of peripheral sympathetic neurons and are the most common solid tumor in children. To determine the genetic basis for neuroblastoma, we performed whole-genome sequencing (6 cases), exome sequencing (16 cases), genome-wide rearrangement analyses (32 cases) and targeted analyses of specific genomic loci (40 cases) using massively parallel sequencing. On average, each tumor had 19 somatic alterations in coding genes (range of 3-70). Among genes not previously known to be involved in neuroblastoma, chromosomal deletions and sequence alterations of the chromatin-remodeling genes ARID1A and ARID1B were identified in 8 of 71 tumors (11%) and were associated with early treatment failure and decreased survival. Using tumor-specific structural alterations, we developed an approach to identify rearranged DNA fragments in sera, providing personalized biomarkers for minimal residual disease detection and monitoring. These results highlight the dysregulation of chromatin remodeling in pediatric tumorigenesis and provide new approaches for the management of patients with neuroblastoma.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clinical management of cancer patients could be improved through the development of noninvasive approaches for the detection of incipient, residual, and recurrent tumors. We describe an approach to directly identify tumor-derived chromosomal alterations through analysis of circulating cell-free DNA from cancer patients. Whole-genome analyses of DNA from the plasma of 10 colorectal and breast cancer patients and 10 healthy individuals with massively parallel sequencing identified, in all patients, structural alterations that were not present in plasma DNA from healthy subjects. Detected alterations comprised chromosomal copy number changes and rearrangements, including amplification of cancer driver genes such as ERBB2 and CDK6. The level of circulating tumor DNA in the cancer patients ranged from 1.4 to 47.9%. The sensitivity and specificity of this approach are dependent on the amount of sequence data obtained and are derived from the fact that most cancers harbor multiple chromosomal alterations, each of which is unlikely to be present in normal cells. Given that chromosomal abnormalities are present in nearly all human cancers, this approach represents a useful method for the noninvasive detection of human tumors that is not dependent on the availability of tumor biopsies.
Science translational medicine 11/2012; 4(162):162ra154. · 14.41 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oligodendrogliomas are the second most common malignant brain tumor in adults and exhibit characteristic losses of chromosomes 1p and 19q. To identify the molecular genetic basis for this alteration, we performed exomic sequencing of seven tumors. Among other changes, we found that the CIC gene (homolog of the Drosophila gene capicua) on chromosome 19q was somatically mutated in six cases and that the FUBP1 gene [encoding far-upstream element (FUSE) binding protein] on chromosome 1p was somatically mutated in two tumors. Examination of 27 additional oligodendrogliomas revealed 12 and 3 more tumors with mutations of CIC and FUBP1, respectively, 58% of which were predicted to result in truncations of the encoded proteins. These results suggest a critical role for these genes in the biology and pathology of oligodendrocytes.