Genomic Signature of Driver Genes Identified by Target Next-Generation Sequencing in Chinese Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Oncologist. 2019 Nov;24(11):e1070-e1081. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.2018-0572. Epub 2019 Mar 22.

Abstract

Background: Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is one of the most common human malignancies and the leading cause of cancer-related death. Over the past few decades, genomic alterations of cancer driver genes have been identified in NSCLC, and molecular testing and targeted therapies have become standard care for lung cancer patients. Here we studied the unique genomic profile of driver genes in Chinese patients with NSCLC by next-generation sequencing (NGS) assay.

Materials and methods: A total of 1,200 Chinese patients with NSCLC were enrolled in this study. The median age was 60 years (range: 26-89), and 83% cases were adenocarcinoma. NGS-based genomic profiling of major lung cancer-related genes was performed on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor samples and matched blood.

Results: Approximately 73.9% of patients with NSCLC harbored at least one actionable alteration recommended by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guideline, including epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), ALK, ERBB2, MET, BRAF, RET, and ROS1. Twenty-seven patients (2.2%) harbored inherited germline mutations of cancer susceptibility genes. The frequencies of EGFR genomic alterations (both mutations and amplification) and ALK rearrangement were identified as 50.1% and 7.8% in Chinese NSCLC populations, respectively, and significantly higher than the Western population. Fifty-six distinct uncommon EGFR mutations other than L858R, exon19del, exon20ins, or T790M were identified in 18.9% of patients with EGFR-mutant NSCLC. About 7.4% of patients harbored both sensitizing and uncommon mutations, and 11.6% of patients harbored only uncommon EGFR mutations. The uncommon EGFR mutations more frequently combined with the genomic alterations of ALK, CDKN2A, NTRK3, TSC2, and KRAS. In patients <40 years of age, the ALK-positive percentage was up to 28.2%. Moreover, 3.2% of ALK-positive patients harbored multi ALK rearrangements, and seven new partner genes were identified.

Conclusion: More unique features of cancer driver genes in Chinese NSCLC were identified by next-generation sequencing. These findings highlighted that NGS technology is more feasible and necessary than other molecular testing methods, and suggested that the special strategies are needed for drug development and targeted therapy for Chinese patients with NSCLC.

Implications for practice: Molecular targeted therapy is now the standard first-line treatment for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Samples of 1,200 Chinese patients with NSCLC were analyzed through next-generation sequencing to characterize the unique feature of uncommon EGFR mutations and ALK fusion. The results showed that 7.4% of EGFR-mutant patients harbored both sensitizing and uncommon mutations and 11.6% harbored only uncommon mutations. Uncommon EGFR mutations more frequently combined with the genomic alterations of ALK, CDKN2A, NTRK3, TSC2, and KRAS. ALK fusion was more common in younger patients, and the frequency decreased monotonically with age. 3.2% of ALK-positive patients harbored multi ALK rearrangement, and seven new partner genes were identified.

Keywords: Molecular genomic profile; Next‐generation sequencing; Non‐small cell lung cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase / genetics
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics
  • Female
  • Genes, Neoplasm / genetics*
  • Genome, Human / genetics*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Risk Factors

Substances

  • ALK protein, human
  • Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase
  • EGFR protein, human
  • ErbB Receptors