Targeted cancer therapies often induce "outlier" responses in molecularly defined patient subsets. One patient with advanced-stage lung adenocarcinoma, who was treated with oral sorafenib, demonstrated a near-complete clinical and radiographic remission for 5 years. Whole-genome sequencing and RNA sequencing of primary tumor and normal samples from this patient identified a somatic mutation, ARAF S214C, present in the cancer genome and expressed at high levels. Additional mutations affecting this residue of ARAF and a nearby residue in the related kinase RAF1 were demonstrated across 1% of an independent cohort of lung adenocarcinoma cases. The ARAF mutations were shown to transform immortalized human airway epithelial cells in a sorafenib-sensitive manner. These results suggest that mutant ARAF is an oncogenic driver in lung adenocarcinoma and an indicator of sorafenib response.
Cervical cancer is responsible for 10-15% of cancer-related deaths in women worldwide. The aetiological role of infection with high-risk human papilloma viruses (HPVs) in cervical carcinomas is well established. Previous studies have also implicated somatic mutations in PIK3CA, PTEN, TP53, STK11 and KRAS as well as several copy-number alterations in the pathogenesis of cervical carcinomas. Here we report whole-exome sequencing analysis of 115 cervical carcinoma-normal paired samples, transcriptome sequencing of 79 cases and whole-genome sequencing of 14 tumour-normal pairs. Previously unknown somatic mutations in 79 primary squamous cell carcinomas include recurrent E322K substitutions in the MAPK1 gene (8%), inactivating mutations in the HLA-B gene (9%), and mutations in EP300 (16%), FBXW7 (15%), NFE2L2 (4%), TP53 (5%) and ERBB2 (6%). We also observe somatic ELF3 (13%) and CBFB (8%) mutations in 24 adenocarcinomas. Squamous cell carcinomas have higher frequencies of somatic nucleotide substitutions occurring at cytosines preceded by thymines (Tp*C sites) than adenocarcinomas. Gene expression levels at HPV integration sites were statistically significantly higher in tumours with HPV integration compared with expression of the same genes in tumours without viral integration at the same site. These data demonstrate several recurrent genomic alterations in cervical carcinomas that suggest new strategies to combat this disease.
We assessed somatic alleles of six receptor tyrosine kinase genes mutated in lung adenocarcinoma for oncogenic activity. Five of these genes failed to score in transformation assays; however, novel recurring extracellular domain mutations of the receptor tyrosine kinase gene ERBB2 were potently oncogenic. These ERBB2 extracellular domain mutants were activated by two distinct mechanisms, characterized by elevated C-terminal tail phosphorylation or by covalent dimerization mediated by intermolecular disulfide bond formation. These distinct mechanisms of receptor activation converged upon tyrosine phosphorylation of cellular proteins, impacting cell motility. Survival of Ba/F3 cells transformed to IL-3 independence by the ERBB2 extracellular domain mutants was abrogated by treatment with small-molecule inhibitors of ERBB2, raising the possibility that patients harboring such mutations could benefit from ERBB2-directed therapy.
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