April 21, 2020  |  

A personalized platform identifies trametinib plus zoledronate for a patient with KRAS-mutant metastatic colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer remains a leading source of cancer mortality worldwide. Initial response is often followed by emergent resistance that is poorly responsive to targeted therapies, reflecting currently undruggable cancer drivers such as KRAS and overall genomic complexity. Here, we report a novel approach to developing a personalized therapy for a patient with treatment-resistant metastatic KRAS-mutant colorectal cancer. An extensive genomic analysis of the tumor’s genomic landscape identified nine key drivers. A transgenic model that altered orthologs of these nine genes in the Drosophila hindgut was developed; a robotics-based screen using this platform identified trametinib plus zoledronate as a candidate treatment combination. Treating the patient led to a significant response: Target and nontarget lesions displayed a strong partial response and remained stable for 11 months. By addressing a disease’s genomic complexity, this personalized approach may provide an alternative treatment option for recalcitrant disease such as KRAS-mutant colorectal cancer.


September 21, 2019  |  

Identification of a novel RASD1 somatic mutation in a USP8-mutated corticotroph adenoma.

Cushing’s disease (CD) is caused by pituitary corticotroph adenomas that secrete excess adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). In these tumors, somatic mutations in the gene USP8 have been identified as recurrent and pathogenic and are the sole known molecular driver for CD. Although other somatic mutations were reported in these studies, their contribution to the pathogenesis of CD remains unexplored. No molecular drivers have been established for a large proportion of CD cases and tumor heterogeneity has not yet been investigated using genomics methods. Also, even in USP8-mutant tumors, a possibility may exist of additional contributing mutations, following a paradigm from other neoplasm types where multiple somatic alterations contribute to neoplastic transformation. The current study utilizes whole-exome discovery sequencing on the Illumina platform, followed by targeted amplicon-validation sequencing on the Pacific Biosciences platform, to interrogate the somatic mutation landscape in a corticotroph adenoma resected from a CD patient. In this USP8-mutated tumor, we identified an interesting somatic mutation in the gene RASD1, which is a component of the corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor signaling system. This finding may provide insight into a novel mechanism involving loss of feedback control to the corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor and subsequent deregulation of ACTH production in corticotroph tumors.


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