Survival of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) with low expression of homologous recombination proficient (HRP) genes


Daniel Walden, Sachin Deshmukh, Felipe Batalini, Binbin Zheng-Lin, Sharon Wu, Joanne Xiu, Emil Lou, Daniel H. Ahn, Christina Wu, Sanjay Goel, Anthony Frank Shields, David Spetzler, Matthew James Oberley, Wolfgang Michael Korn, Tanios S. Bekaii-Saab

Background: HR deficient (HRD) CRC has improved outcomes following exposure to DNA damaging agent (DDA) (irinotecan, IR; oxaliplatin, OX) compared to HRP CRC. Low expression of wild type (WT) BRCA1 mRNA is associated with prolonged OS in ovarian cancer; however, this finding has not been investigated in CRC or outside of BRCA. Here, we examine the effect of low expression of HR genes in HRP CRC on post-DDA survival.

Methods: 12,860 CRC samples were analyzed by NGS (592, NextSeq; WES, NovaSeq) and WTS (NovaSeq) at Caris Life Sciences (Phoenix, AZ). Samples were classified by RNA expression percentiles. Real world OS was extracted from insurance claims and calculated using Kaplan-Meier estimates for molecularly defined cohorts from first of OX or IR to last contact.

Results: Post-IR survival was prolonged with low expression of ATMCHEK2 and PALB2 in WT ATMPALB2, and CHEK2 WT CRC, respectively (bottom vs. top 10%, bottom vs. top 25%; p<0.05). Notably, low PALB2 expression (bottom 10%) showed a 14.5-month post-IR benefit compared to high PALB2 expression (top 10%) in WT PALB2 CRC (p=0.003). Post-OX survival was not significantly prolonged with low expression of CHEK2 in WT CHEK2 CRC (bottom 10% vs top 10%, bottom 25% vs top 25%) but was with low expression of ATM (+9.7 months, p=0.02) and PALB2 (+5.6 months, p=0.03) in WT ATM and PALB2 CRC, respectively (all bottom 25% vs top 25%).

Conclusions: Here we report the first findings to suggest a novel subclass of CRC defined as the low expression of mRNA of non-mutated HRD genes that exhibit sensitivity to DDA. Low expression of WT ATM, CHEK2, and PALB2 correlates with prolonged OS following IR, post-OX survival was prolonged with low expression of ATM and PALB2. Further characterization defining sensitivity of low expressing HRP genes to DDA may help guide treatment considerations in HRP CRC.

External Link