Expression of Immuno-Oncologic Biomarkers Is Enriched in Colorectal Cancers and Other Solid Tumors Harboring the A59T Variant of KRAS


Emil Lou 1, Joanne Xiu 2, Yasmine Baca 2, Andrew C Nelson 3, Benjamin A Weinberg 4, Muhammad Shaalan Beg 5, Mohamed E Salem 6, Heinz-Josef Lenz 7, Philip Philip 8, Wafik S El-Deiry 9, W Michael Korn 2

The molecular heterogeneity of KRAS is well established, with a pool of variants comprising >75% of all known mutations; this pool includes mutations in classic codons 12, 13, and 61, as well as 146 and 117. In addition, there are rare variants that are more frequently encountered clinically due to the advances in next-generation sequencing and more widespread implementation of All-RAS sequencing over the past five years. We have previously identified a missense variant of KRAS, A59T, in a patient with CRC that was associated with a response to an epidermal growth factor inhibitor when added to chemotherapy, supporting the hypothesis that distinct biochemical impacts of different KRAS mutations may produce varied responses to targeted therapy. In this study, we explored a large genomic database comprising 17,909 cases of CRC to determine the prevalence of the A59T mutation and characterized the concurrent genomic alterations associated with this variant in more detail, particularly in relation to the expanding set of potential predictive immuno-oncologic biomarkers. We identified 14 cases of A59 mutations in this dataset (0.08% prevalence). We evaluated the prevalence of high tumor mutation burden (TMB), positive PD-L1 expression, and microsatellite instability-high/mismatch repair-deficiency (MSI-H/dMMR) using both next generation sequencing (NGS) and immunohistochemistry (IHC). The genomic features of pertinent signaling pathways were also described, including RAS pathway, chromatin remodeling, DDR, hedgehog signaling, PI3K, receptor tyrosine kinases, signal transduction, TGF-beta, TP53, and WNT. We uncovered a high level of association of predictive markers of responsiveness to checkpoint inhibition and potentially other forms of immunotherapy, with nearly half of all cases harboring microsatellite instability as assessed using NGS. A59T was also detected in 11 additional cancer types, most prominently in cases of gynecologic or other gastrointestinal sites of origin. This study provides supportive evidence that A59T, and possibly other similarly rare KRAS variants, co-occur with predictive biomarkers of response to immunotherapy.

External Link