Small-cell lung cancer detection in never-smokers: clinical characteristics and multigene mutation profiling using targeted next-generation sequencing

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BackgroundOnce regarded as a smoker's disease, small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) has been occasionally detected in never-smokers as smoking rates decrease worldwide. We investigated the clinical and genetic characteristics of SCLC in never-smokers.Patients and methodsPatients diagnosed with SCLC were grouped into smokers and never-smokers. The clinical outcomes of the two groups were compared. For SCLC in never-smokers, somatic mutation profiling was carried out using the AmpliSeq™ Cancer Hotspot Panel v2 and semiconductor sequencing technology. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation was confirmed by PNAClamp™.ResultsIn total, 391 SCLC patients treated over a 5-year period were analyzed. Fifty patients (13%) were never-smokers. The median overall survival was 18.2 months in never-smokers and 13.1 months in smokers (P = 0.054). Never-smoking history was independently a good prognostic factor [hazard ratio = 0.645, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.456–0.914], as were limited disease (HR = 0.372, 95% CI 0.294–0.471), and lower age (HR = 0.709, 95% CI 0.566–0.888). The objective response rates to first-line etoposide/cisplatin therapy were similar between never-smokers and smokers (75% versus 81%). Of 28 genetically evaluable never-smokers, EGFR mutations were detected in four cases (two L858R, one deletion in exon 19, and one G719A). Other mutations were in TP53 (n = 26), RB1 (n = 7), PTEN (n = 5), MET (n = 4), and SMAD4 (n = 3).ConclusionsNever-smokers with SCLC are increasingly prevalent and have a better prognosis than smokers with SCLC in Korea. Our study warrants further investigation in this group.

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