Introduction: Large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (LCNEC) is a rare and highly aggressive high-grade neuroendocrine neoplasm, which can arise from anywhere in the body. Due to its rarity there is a lacuna in our understanding of LCNEC's molecular biology. In 2016, Rekhtman and colleagues presented one of the largest molecular sequencing series of pulmonary LCNEC. They differentiated genomic profiles of LCNEC into two major subsets: small cell lung cancer (SCLC)-like, characterized by TP53 + RB1 co-mutation/loss, and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)-like, characterized by the lack of co-altered TP53 + RB1. This finding is of significance because at present LCNEC patients are often treated like SCLC. However, the universal genomic SCLC biomarker of TP53 and RB1 co-mutation was only found in 40% of their cohort. Since then various other scientists have looked into molecular profiling of LCNEC with markedly discordant results. The objective of this study was to conduct a systematic review of publicly available next generation sequencing (NGS) data to evaluate the prevalence of TP53 + RB1 co-mutation in LCNEC.
Method: We conducted a literature search using PubMed. Seven studies including 302 patients with pulmonary LCNEC and four studies including 20 patients with extra-pulmonary LCNEC underwent final analysis.
Results: The prevalence of TP53 + RB1 co-mutation was 36% (109/302) among pulmonary LCNEC patients and 35% (7/20) among the extra-thoracic LCNEC cohort. This finding is in stark contrast to >90% TP53 + RB1 co-mutation in SCLC.
Conclusion: It is now well established that LCNEC is molecularly distinct from SCLC. LCNEC seems to have two molecularly defined sub-cohort based on TP53 + RB1 co-mutation status. Future studies should look into prognostic and predictive implication of TP53 + RB1 co-mutation status in LCNEC. Prospective studies should be designed to characterize molecular subtypes and direct treatment accordingly. We are currently conducting a prospective pilot clinical trial wherein LCNEC patients are treated based on TP53 + RB1 co-mutation status. The study is currently enrolling. "Next Generation Sequencing-Based Stratification of Front Line Treatment of Neuroendocrine Carcinoma (PRECISION-NEC).
Systematic review: ClinicalTrials.gov, identifier NCT04452292.
Keywords: high grade neuroendocrine cancer; large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma; molecular profiling; next generation sequencing; review.
Copyright © 2021 Saghaeiannejad Esfahani, Vela and Chauhan.