Comprehensive multiplatform biomarker analysis of 350 hepatocellular carcinomas identifies potential novel therapeutic options


Celina Ang, John T Miura, T Clark Gamblin, Ruth He, Joanne Xiu, Sherri Z Millis, Zoran Gatalica, Sandeep K Reddy, Nelson S Yee, Ghassan K Abou-Alfa


Background and objectives: Effective therapies for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are limited. Molecular profiling of HCC was performed to identify novel therapeutic targets.

Methods: 350 HCC samples were evaluated using a multiplatform profiling service (Caris Life Sciences, Phoenix, AZ), including gene sequencing, amplification, and protein expression.

Results: EGFR, TOPO1, PD-1, TOP2A, SPARC, and c-Met were overexpressed in 25-83% of samples. Decreased expression of RRM1,TS, PTEN, and MGMT occurred in 31-82% of samples. TP53 was mutated in 30%, CTNNB1 in 20%, and BRCA2 in 18%; other gene mutation rates were <5%. TP53-mutated tumors showed significantly higher TOPO2A (90% vs. 38%, P < 0.0001) and TS (56% vs. 29%, P = 0.0139) expression. CTNNB1-mutated tumors had significantly higher AR (56% vs. 21%, P = 0.0017), SPARC (61% vs. 29%, P = 0.0135), PDL1 (29% vs. 0%, P = 0.0256) expression, and BRCA2 mutations (50% vs. 6%, P = 0.0458). Metastases exhibited significantly higher infiltration by PD-1+ lymphocytes (79% vs. 50%, P = 0.047) and TS (31% vs. 14%, P < 0.0003) than primary HCC.

Conclusions: Multiplatform profiling reveals molecular heterogeneity in HCC and identifies potential therapies including tyrosine kinase, PI3 kinase, or PARP inhibitors for molecular subtypes. Chemotherapy may benefit some tumors. CTNNB1-mutated tumors may respond to multi-target inhibition. These limited and preliminary data require clinical validation.

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