The recently approved ALK kinase inhibitor crizotinib has demonstrated successful treatment of metastatic and late stage ALK fusion positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, the median duration of clinical benefit is ~10-11months due to the emergence of multiple and simultaneous resistance mechanisms in these tumors. Mutations in the ALK kinase domain confer resistance to crizotinib in about one-third of these patients. We developed a multiplex deep sequencing method using semiconductor sequencing technology to quickly detect resistance mutations within the ALK kinase domain from tumor biopsies. By applying a base-pair specific error-weighted mutation calling algorithm (BASCA) that we developed for this assay, genomic DNA analysis from thirteen relapsed patients revealed three known crizotinib resistance mutations, C1156Y, L1196M and G1269A. Our assay demonstrates robust and sensitive detection of ALK kinase mutations in NSCLC tumor samples and aids in the elucidation of resistance mechanisms pertinent to the clinical setting.
Keywords: Crizotinib; Deep sequencing; Mutation; Resistance.
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