Clinicopathogenomic analysis of mismatch repair proficient colorectal adenocarcinoma uncovers novel prognostic subgroups with differing patterns of genetic evolution

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Abstract

Cancer somatic genetic evolution is a direct contributor to heterogeneity at the clonal and molecular level in colorectal adenocarcinoma (COAD). We sought to determine the extent to which genetic evolution may be detected in COAD in routinely obtained single clinical specimens and establish clinical significance with regard to clinicopathologic and outcome data. One hundred and twenty three cases of routinely collected mismatch repair proficient COAD were sequenced on the Illumina Truseq Amplicon assay. Measures of intratumoral heterogeneity and the preferential timing of mutational events were assessed and compared to clinicopathologic data. Survival subanalysis was performed on 55 patients. Patient age (p = 0.013) and specimen percent tumor (p = 0.033) was associated with clonal diversity, and biopsy (p = 0.044) and metastasis (p = 0.044) returned fewer mutations per case. APC and TP53 mutations preferentially occurred early while alterations in FBXW7, FLT3, SMAD4, GNAS and PTEN preferentially occurred as late events. Temporal heterogeneity was evident in KRAS and PIK3CA mutations. Hierarchical clustering revealed a TP53 mutant subtype and a MAPK-PIK3CA subtype with differing patterns of late mutational events. Survival subanalysis showed a decreased median progression free survival for the MAPK-PIK3CA subtype (8 months vs. 13 months; univariate logrank p = 0.0380, cox model p= 0.018). Neoadjuvant therapy associated mutations were found for ERBB2 (p = 0.0481) and FBXW7 (p = 0.015). Our data indicate novel molecular subtypes of mismatch repair proficient COAD display differing patterns of genetic evolution which correlate with clinical outcomes. Furthermore, we report treatment acquired and/or selected mutations in ERBB2 and FBXW7.

What's new?

In order to study the genetic evolution of cancer with current approaches, multiple regions of a tumor must be sequenced. These approaches, however, are resource-intensive and applicable only to a small number of cancer specimens. The present study shows that in the case of mismatch repair-proficient colorectal adenocarcinoma, genetic evolution can be studied using routinely obtained and sequenced unpaired/single region clinical specimens. Novel molecular subtypes were identified, revealing varying patterns of genetic evolution, which were correlated with differing clinical and pathologic features. Information on the genetic patterns of colorectal adenocarcinoma could be used to optimize therapeutic strategies.

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