Objectives: The gatekeeper mutation T790M mutation is the responsible for the majority of the resistance to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) in patients with EGFR-mutated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Other previously described resistance mechanisms include HER2 amplification, MET amplification, PIK3CA mutation, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), small cell transformation have also been identified. However other resistance mechanisms remains to be discovered.
Materials and methods: Hybrid-capture based comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP) was performed on pre- and post-EGFR TKI progression EGFR-mutated NSCLC tumor samples during routine clinical care. We identify two paired pre- and post-EGFR TKI progression EGFR-mutated NSCLC patient tumor samples where both post EGFR TKI samples harbored in-frame CCDC6-RET rearrangements but not in the pre-EGFR TKI tumor samples. Furthermore analysis of the clinical database revealed one additional NCOA4-RET rearrangement co-existing with activated EGFR mutation in an EGFR-mutated NSCLC patient who had progressed on afatinib. None of the known resistance mechanisms to EGFR TKI including EGFR T790M, EGFR amplification, HER2 amplification, MET amplification, PIK3CA mutation, BRAF mutation, EMT or small cell transformation was identified in the three post progression samples that now harbored RET rearrangements.
Results and conclusions: This is the first report of RET rearrangement co-existing with activated EGFR mutations in EGFR-mutated patients who had progressed on either first- or second generation EGFR TKI. As such, RET rearrangement may serve as a potential resistance mechanism to EGFR TKI in EGFR-mutated NSCLC.
Keywords: Acquired resistance; EGFR mutations; Non-small cell lung cancer; Post-progression; RET rearrangement.
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