Earlier extracranial progression and shorter survival in ALK-rearranged lung cancer with positive liquid rebiopsies

Petros Christopoulos, Steffen Dietz, Arlou K. Angeles, Stephan Rheinheimer, Daniel Kazdal, Anna Lena Volckmar, Florian Janke, Volker Endris, Michael Meister, Mark Kriegsmann, Thomasz Zemojtel, Martin Reck, Albrecht Stenzinger, Michael Thomas, Holger Sültmann

Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftArtikelpeer review

11 Citaten (Scopus)


Background: Liquid rebiopsies can detect resistance mutations to guide therapy of anaplastic lymphoma kinase-rearranged (ALK+) non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) failing tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI). Here, we analyze how their results relate to the anatomical pattern of disease progression and patient outcome. Methods: Clinical, molecular, and radiologic characteristics of consecutive TKI-treated ALK+ NSCLC patients were analyzed using prospectively collected plasma samples and the 17-gene targeted AVENIO kit, which covers oncogenic drivers and all TP53 exons. Results: In 56 patients, 139 instances of radiologic changes were analyzed, of which 133 corresponded to disease progression. Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) alterations were identified in most instances of extracranial progression (58/94 or 62%), especially if concomitant intracranial progression was also present (89%, P<0.001), but rarely in case of isolated central nervous system (CNS) progression (8/39 or 21%, P<0.001). ctDNA detectability correlated with presence of “short” echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4 (EML4)-ALK fusion variants (mainly V3, E6:A20) and/or TP53 mutations (P<0.05), and presented therapeutic opportunities in <50% of cases. Patients with extracranial progression and positive liquid biopsies had shorter survival from the start of palliative treatment (mean 52 vs. 69 months, P=0.002), regardless of previous and subsequent therapy and initial ECOG performance status. Furthermore, for patients with extracranial progression, ctDNA detectability was associated with shorter next-line progression-free survival (PFS) (3 vs. 13 months, P=0.003) if they were switched to another systemic therapy (49/86 samples), and with shorter time-to-next-treatment (TNT) (3 vs. 8 months, P=0.004) if they were continued on the same treatment due to oligoprogression (37/86). In contrast, ctDNA detectability was not associated with the outcome of patients showing CNS-only progression. In 6/6 cases with suspicion of non-neoplastic radiologic lung changes (mainly infection or pneumonitis), ctDNA results remained negative. Conclusions: Positive blood-based liquid rebiopsies in ALK+ NSCLC characterize biologically more aggressive disease and are common with extracranial, but rare with CNS-only progression or benign radiologic changes. These results reconcile the increased detection of ALK resistance mutations with other features of the high-risk EML4-ALK V3-associated phenotype. Conversely, most oligoprogressive patients with negative liquid biopsies have a more indolent course without need for early change of systemic treatment.

Originele taal-2Engels
Pagina's (van-tot)2118-2131
Aantal pagina's14
TijdschriftTranslational Lung Cancer Research
Nummer van het tijdschrift5
StatusGepubliceerd - mei 2021
Extern gepubliceerdJa


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