Background: To elucidate clinicopathological characteristics of non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) cases carrying RET rearrangements causing oncogenic fusions to identify responders to therapy with RET tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
Methods: We investigated 1874 patients with carcinomas, including 1620 adenocarcinomas (ADCs), 203 squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), 8 large cell carcinomas, and 43 sarcomatoid carcinomas (SACs). Fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) and/or reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) were performed to detect RET gene rearrangement.
Results: In all, 22 cases (1.2%) showed RET rearrangements; all cases were of ADC histology. Of the 22 patients, 19 possessed KIF5B-RET fusion genes, whereas 3 possessed CCDC6-RET fusion genes. The RET-rearranged tumours were significantly more common in younger patients (P=0.038) and tended to occur in patients with no history of smoking (P=0.051). In addition, RET rearrangements were not associated with gender, occupational history (particularly radioactive exposure), tumour size, lymph node status, tumour stage, or patient survival. The predominant growth pattern in RET-rearranged ADCs was lepidic in 6 cases, papillary in 9 cases, acinar in 2 cases, micropapillary in 1 case, and solid in 4 cases. Cells with cytoplasmic mucin production were at least focally present in 12 of the 22 (54.5%) RET-rearranged ADC cases. Among the 21 analysed RET-rearranged tumours, RET immunopositivity was observed in 15 cases (71.4%), and was significantly associated with RET rearrangement (P<0.001).
Conclusions: The RET rearrangements were observed in 1.2% of NSCLCs. All cases of RET rearrangement were ADCs. The RET rearrangements were more likely to be observed in younger patients. Although cytoplasmic mucin production was at least focally present in 54.5% of RET-rearranged ADCs, specific histological features were not detected.