Genome-wide profiling of non-smoking-related lung cancer cells reveals common RB1 rearrangements associated with histopathologic transformation in EGFR-mutant tumors
E Pros, M Saigi, D Alameda, G Gomez-Mariano, B Martinez-Delgado, J J Alburquerque-Bejar, J Carretero, R Tonda, A Esteve-Codina, I Catala, R Palmero, M Jove, C Lazaro, A Patiño-Garcia, I Gil-Bazo, S Verdura, A Teulé, J Torres-Lanzas, D Sidransky, N Reguart, R Pio, O Juan-Vidal, E Nadal, E Felip, L M Montuenga, M Sanchez-Cespedes
Background: The etiology and the molecular basis of lung adenocarcinomas (LuADs) in nonsmokers are currently unknown. Furthermore, the scarcity of available primary cultures continues to hamper our biological understanding of non-smoking-related lung adenocarcinomas (NSK-LuADs).
Patients and methods: We established patient-derived cancer cell (PDC) cultures from metastatic NSK-LuADs, including two pairs of matched EGFR-mutant PDCs before and after resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), and then performed whole-exome and RNA sequencing to delineate their genomic architecture. For validation, we analyzed independent cohorts of primary LuADs.
Results: In addition to known non-smoker-associated alterations (e.g. RET, ALK, EGFR, and ERBB2), we discovered novel fusions and recurrently mutated genes, including ATF7IP, a regulator of gene expression, that was inactivated in 5% of primary LuAD cases. We also found germline mutations at dominant familiar-cancer genes, highlighting the importance of genetic predisposition in the origin of a subset of NSK-LuADs.
Furthermore, there was an over-representation of inactivating alterations at RB1, mostly through complex intragenic rearrangements, in treatment-naive EGFR-mutant LuADs. Three EGFR-mutant and one EGFR-wild-type tumors acquired resistance to EGFR-TKIs and chemotherapy, respectively, and histology on re-biopsies revealed the development of small-cell lung cancer/squamous cell carcinoma (SCLC/LuSCC) transformation. These features were consistent with RB1 inactivation and acquired EGFR-T790M mutation or FGFR3-TACC3 fusion in EGFR-mutant tumors.
Conclusions: We found recurrent alterations in LuADs that deserve further exploration. Our work also demonstrates that a subset of NSK-LuADs arises within cancer-predisposition syndromes. The preferential occurrence of RB1 inactivation, via complex rearrangements, found in EGFR-mutant tumors appears to favor SCLC/LuSCC transformation under growth-inhibition pressures. Thus RB1 inactivation may predict the risk of LuAD transformation to a more aggressive type of lung cancer, and may need to be considered as a part of the clinical management of NSK-LuADs patients.