Analysis of actionable genetic alterations in lung carcinoma from the VA National Precision Oncology Program

Semin Oncol. 2022 Jul 19;S0093-7754(22)00054-9. doi: 10.1053/j.seminoncol.2022.06.014. Online ahead of print.


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality in men and women. Genomic sequencing of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is critical for the optimal treatment of NSCLC. In this study we sought to describe the frequencies of highly actionable driver mutations in lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD), squamous cell (LUSQ) and other NSCLC histologies (LUOT) in Veterans tested through the VA's National Precision Oncology Program (NPOP) and compare these frequencies to other published datasets from highly specialized academic cancer centers. The NPOP cohort included 3,376 unique Veterans with a diagnosis of lung carcinoma tested between February 2019 and January 2021 including 1892 with LUAD, 940 with LUSQ, and 549 with LUOT. Among patients with LUAD, 27.5% had highly actionable genetic variants. The frequency of targetable mutations was as follows: ALK rearrangement 0.8%, BRAF V600E 2.1%, EGFR exon 20 insertion mutation 0.48%, EGFR sensitizing mutations 6.6%, ERBB2 small variants 1.2%, KRAS G12C 14.0%, MET exon 14 skipping mutation 1.5%, NTRK rearrangement 0.1%, RET rearrangement 0.4%, and ROS1 rearrangement 0.3%. The frequency of EGFR mutations, RET rearrangement, MET exon 14 and ERBB2 small variants frequencies were significantly lower in NPOP compared to other published reports while MET amplification was more common in NPOP. Combined rates of highly actionable genetic variants were 2.7% and 13.4% in LUSQ and LUOT, respectively. In this study, 27.5% of Veterans with lung adenocarcinoma have actionable genetic alterations eligible for FDA approved targeted therapies, a frequency only slightly lower than other published datasets despite higher smoking rates in Veterans. Genomic sequencing should be performed in all Veterans with advanced LUAD and LUOT.

Keywords: Genomic testing; Lung cancer; Veterans.