Most patients whose large bowel cancer has spread to other organs do not respond to immune therapy. We detected a rare gene mutation, termed 9p24.1 copy-number gain (CNG), in an otherwise incurable colorectal cancer that provoked an immune therapy response. We identified this gene mutation by gene-panel sequencing of DNA from a liver metastasis biopsy from a patient who had disease refractory to standard therapies. Following immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) with pembrolizumab (anti-PD-1), the patient experienced conversion of the tumor phenotype from one with epithelial features to that of an inflamed microenvironment, detected by high-resolution RNA sequencing. Circulating tumor DNA disappeared over the first weeks of therapy. As assessed by standard radiographic measurement, the patient had a partial response that was durable. This patient's response may support the use of histology-agnostic ICB in solid tumors that carry the rare 9p24.1 CNG.
©2019 American Association for Cancer Research.