Gene alternation of cerebrospinal fluid in patients with leptomeningeal metastases of lung adenocarcinoma using next-generation sequencing

BMC Cancer. 2022 May 25;22(1):580. doi: 10.1186/s12885-022-09597-y.


Background: Epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs) provide a better prognosis in EGFR-mutant non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Nevertheless, the outcome of leptomeningeal metastasis (LM) remains poor. In addition, due to limited access to intracranial tumour tissue, gene alterations associated with leptomeningeal metastasis from lung adenocarcinoma (LM-LUAD) are unclear.

Methods: Forty-five patients with LM-LUAD from May 2019 to June 2021 in Guangdong Sanjiu Brain Hospital were enrolled in this study. Seventy-five percent (34/45) of patients with LM harbored EGFR mutations, and patients with progressive disease (PD) of LM had 3rd-generation EGFR-TKI therapy and were defined as Cohort 1; those without 3rd-generation EGFR-TKI therapy were defined as Cohort 2. Next-generation targeted panel sequencing (NGS) was performed in each cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) sample of the two cohorts, and 9/45 LM-LUAD patients had matched plasma (PLA).

Results: The common gene alterations discovered in the CSF of LM-LUAD were EGFR mutation (34/45, 75%), TP53 (25/45, 56%), CDKN2A (9/45, 20%), ALK (7/45, 16%), CTNNB1 (6/45, 13%), MET (5/45, 11%), APC (4/45, 9%), FGF4 (4/45, 9%), FGF3 (4/45, 9%), ERBB2 (4/45, 9%), and PIK3CG (4/45, 9%). Cooccurring mutations of TP53 and EGFR were found in 49% (22/45) of patients and correlated with poor prognosis. CDKN2A was identified in 20% (9/45) of patients and presented slightly shorter overall survival (OS) than those without (7.1 versus 8.8 months, p = 0.2). Cohort 1 had more genes associated with poor prognosis, consisting of CDK4, CDKN2A, PIK3CG, or PIK3CA, and YES1 and MET were more likely to be detected in cohort 2. The alteration of EGFR was comparable between CSF and matched PLA. Incidences of gene alterations such as CDK4, CDKN2A, MET, SOX2, JAK2, BRAF, and PIK3CG were more likely to be identified in CSF. All mutant allele frequencies (MAF) were much higher in CSF than in matched PLA.

Conclusions: CSF could be a potential candidate for the genetic profiling of LM-LUAD, demonstrating the genetic characteristics of LM in EGFR-mutated lung adenocarcinoma on diverse EGFR-TKI therapies.

Keywords: Cerebrospinal fluid; Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitor; Genotyping; Leptomeningeal metastases; Lung adenocarcinoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma of Lung* / complications
  • Adenocarcinoma of Lung* / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung* / pathology
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid* / chemistry
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid* / metabolism
  • ErbB Receptors / cerebrospinal fluid
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Meningeal Carcinomatosis* / complications
  • Meningeal Carcinomatosis* / secondary
  • Mutation
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors


  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • ErbB Receptors