Oncogenic EGFR mutations are found in 10% to 35% of lung adenocarcinomas. Such mutations, which present most commonly as small in-frame deletions in exon 19 or point mutations in exon 21 (L858R), confer sensitivity to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI). In analyzing the tumor from a 33-year-old male never-smoker, we identified a novel EGFR alteration in lung cancer: EGFR exon 18-25 kinase domain duplication (EGFR-KDD). Through analysis of a larger cohort of tumor samples, we detected additional cases of EGFR-KDD in lung, brain, and other cancers. In vitro, EGFR-KDD is constitutively active, and computational modeling provides potential mechanistic support for its auto-activation. EGFR-KDD-transformed cells are sensitive to EGFR TKIs and, consistent with these in vitro findings, the index patient had a partial response to the EGFR TKI afatinib. The patient eventually progressed, at which time resequencing revealed an EGFR-dependent mechanism of acquired resistance to afatinib, thereby validating EGFR-KDD as a driver alteration and therapeutic target.
Significance: We identified oncogenic and drug-sensitive EGFR-KDD that is recurrent in lung, brain, and soft-tissue cancers and documented that a patient with metastatic lung adenocarcinoma harboring the EGFR-KDD derived significant antitumor response from treatment with the EGFR inhibitor afatinib. Findings from these studies will be immediately translatable, as there are already several approved EGFR inhibitors in clinical use.
©2015 American Association for Cancer Research.