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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Next generation sequencing of exceptional responders with BRAF-mutant melanoma: implications for sensitivity and resistance.

  • Author(s): Wheler, Jennifer
  • Yelensky, Roman
  • Falchook, Gerald
  • Kim, Kevin B
  • Hwu, Patrick
  • Tsimberidou, Apostolia M
  • Stephens, Philip J
  • Hong, David
  • Cronin, Maureen T
  • Kurzrock, Razelle
  • et al.

Patients with BRAF mutation-positive advanced melanoma respond well to matched therapy with BRAF or MEK inhibitors, but often quickly develop resistance.Tumor tissue from ten patients with advanced BRAF mutation-positive melanoma who achieved partial response (PR) or complete response (CR) on BRAF and/or MEK inhibitors was analyzed using next generation sequencing (NGS) assay. Genomic libraries were captured for 3230 exons in 182 cancer-related genes plus 37 introns from 14 genes often rearranged in cancer and sequenced to average median depth of 734X with 99% of bases covered >100X.Three of the ten patients (median number of prior therapies = 2) attained prolonged CR (duration = 23.6+ to 28.7+ months); seven patients achieved either a PR or a short-lived CR. One patient who achieved CR ongoing at 28.7+ months and had tissue available close to the time of initiating BRAF inhibitor therapy had only a BRAF mutation. Abnormalities in addition to BRAF mutation found in other patients included: mutations in NRAS, APC and NF1; amplifications in BRAF, aurora kinase A, MYC, MITF and MET; deletions in CDKN2A/B and PAX5; and, alterations in RB1 and ATM. Heterogeneity between patients and molecular evolution within patients was noted.NGS identified potentially actionable DNA alterations that could account for resistance in patients with BRAF mutation-positive advanced melanoma who achieved a PR or CR but whose tumors later progressed. A subset of patients with advanced melanoma may harbor only a BRAF mutation and achieve a durable CR on BRAF pathway inhibitors.

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