Introduction: ROS1 gene fusions are a well-characterized class of oncogenic driver found in approximately 1% to 2% of NSCLC patients. ROS1-directed therapy in these patients is more efficacious and is associated with fewer side effects compared to chemotherapy and is thus now considered standard-of-care for patients with advanced disease. Consequently, accurate detection of ROS1 rearrangements/fusions in clinical tumor samples is vital. In this study, we compared the performance of three common molecular testing approaches on a cohort of ROS1 rearrangement/fusion-positive patient samples.
Methods: Twenty-three ROS1 rearrangement/fusion-positive clinical samples were assessed by at least two of the following molecular testing methodologies: break-apart fluorescence in situ hybridization, DNA-based hybrid capture library preparation followed by next-generation sequencing (NGS), and RNA-based anchored multiplex polymerase chain reaction library preparation followed by NGS.
Results: None of the testing methodologies demonstrated 100% sensitivity in detection of ROS1 rearrangements/fusions. Fluorescence in situ hybridization results were negative in 2 of 20 tested samples, the DNA-based NGS assay was negative in 4 of 18 tested samples, and the RNA-based NGS assay was negative in 3 of 19 tested samples. For all three testing approaches, we identified assay characteristics that likely contributed to false-negative results. Additionally, we report that genomic breakpoints are an unreliable predictor of breakpoints at the transcript level, likely due to alternative splicing.
Conclusions: ROS1 rearrangement/fusion detection in the clinical setting is complex and all methodologies have inherent limitations of which users must be aware to correctly interpret results.
Keywords: FISH; ROS1; lung cancer; molecular testing; next-generation sequencing.
Copyright © 2018 International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.