Background: Frequency of FGFR2 amplification, its clinicopathological features, and the results of high-throughput screening assays in a large cohort of gastric clinical samples remain largely unclear.
Methods: Drug sensitivity to a fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) inhibitor was evaluated in vitro. The gene amplification of the FGFRs in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) gastric cancer tissues was determined by a real-time PCR-based copy number assay and fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH).
Results: FGFR2 amplification confers hypersensitivity to FGFR inhibitor in gastric cancer cell lines. The copy number assay revealed that 4.1% (11 out of 267) of the gastric cancers harboured FGFR2 amplification. No amplification of the three other family members (FGFR1, 3 and 4) was detected. A FISH analysis was performed on 7 cases among 11 FGFR2-amplified cases and showed that 6 of these 7 cases were highly amplified, while the remaining 1 had a relatively low grade of amplification. Although the difference was not significant, patients with FGFR2 amplification tended to exhibit a shorter overall survival period.
Conclusion: FGFR2 amplification was observed in 4.1% of gastric cancers and our established PCR-based copy number assay could be a powerful tool for detecting FGFR2 amplification using FFPE samples. Our results strongly encourage the development of FGFR-targeted therapy for gastric cancers with FGFR2 amplification.