Context: Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) represents one of the most aggressive carcinomas with no consistent survival benefit when treated with conventional radiochemotherapy. Approaches targeting "oncogene addiction" of ATC are increasingly explored and first promising results have been reported in single case studies.
Objective: To determine the prevalence of mutations in known thyroid oncogenes and signalling pathways amendable to targeted therapy in a large cohort of ATC.
Results: In 118 ATC (57 male/ 61 female) a total of 165 mutations were found. Genes involved in the MAPK/ERK and PI3K pathway (BRAF 11.0%, HRAS 4.2%, KRAS 7.6%, NRAS 7.6%, PI3KCA 11.8%) were altered in 33%. Targetable receptor tyrosine kinases were mutated in 11%. The most frequently altered genes were TERT in 86/118 (73%) and p53 in 65/118 (55%) cases. No mutations were found analysing ALK, KIT, MET and mTOR.
Materials and methods: Next generation sequencing (NGS) was performed in FFPE samples from 118 ATC using MiSeq (Illumina) and CLC Cancer Research Workbench (CLCbio; Qiagen) for mutation analysis in: ALK, BRAF, CDKN2A, EGFR, ERBB2, HRAS, KIT, KRAS, MET, mTOR, NRAS, PDGFRA, PI3KCA, p53, RB1, RET and TSC2. Sanger sequencing was used to detect TERT promotor mutations.
Conclusions: To our knowledge this is the largest study analysing mutations for targeted therapy of ATC. We found that 33% of ATC harbour mutations in pathways amendable to targeted therapy. Molecular screening in ATC is suggested for targeted therapies since current conventional treatment for ATC proved mainly futile.
Keywords: anaplastic thyroid carcinoma; next generation sequencing; targeted therapy.