Background: Cancer of unknown primary (CUP) accounts for approximately 3% of all malignancies. Avoiding immune destruction is a major cancer characteristic and therapies aimed at immune checkpoint blockade are in use for several specific cancer types. A comprehensive survey of predictive biomarkers to immune checkpoint blockade in CUP were explored in this study.
Methods: About 389 cases of CUP were analysed for mutations in 592 genes and 52 gene fusions using a massively parallel DNA sequencing platform (next-generation sequencing [NGS]). Total mutational load (TML) and microsatellite instability (MSI) were calculated from NGS data. PD-L1 expression was explored using immunohistochemistry (with 5% cutoff value).
Results: High TML was seen in 11.8% (46/389) of tumours. MSI-high (MSI-H) was detected in 7/384 (1.8%) of tumours. Tumour PD-L1 expression was detected in 80/362 CUP (22%). A small proportion of CUP cases harboured genetic alterations of negative predictive biomarkers to immune checkpoint inhibitors (predictors to hyperprogression) including MDM2 gene amplification (2%) and loss of function JAK2 gene mutations (1%). Amplifications of CD274 (PD-L1) and PDCD1LG2 (PD-L2) genes were also rare (1.4% and 0.8%, respectively). The most frequently mutated genes were TP53 (54%), KRAS (22%), ARID1A (13%), PIK3CA (9%), CDKN2A (8%), SMARCA4 (7%) and PBRM1, STK11, APC, RB1 (5%, respectively).
Conclusions: Using a multiplex testing approach, 28% of CUP carried one or more predictive biomarkers (MSI-H, PD-L1 and/or TML-H) to the immune checkpoint blockade, providing a novel option for treatment in patients with CUP.
Keywords: Cancer of unknown primary (CUP); Immune checkpoint inhibitors; Targeted therapy.
Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.