A recent study on 15 patients with synovial sarcoma demonstrated very low prevalence of tumor-specific fusion transcripts in peripheral blood specimens. Our results in an independent cohort of 38 patients with synovial sarcoma support these findings. Synovial sarcoma patients could greatly benefit from a non-invasive monitoring of tumor burden by liquid biopsies. However, given the low detection rate of SS18-SSX1/2 in circulation, we conclude that alternative markers other than the tumor-type specific fusion transcripts should be considered.
View details for PubMedID 30871572
Background: Sarcomas are a rare, heterogeneous group of tumors with variable tendencies for aggressive behavior. Molecular markers for prognosis are needed to risk stratify patients and identify those who might benefit from more intensive therapeutic strategies.Patients and methods: We analyzed somatic tumor genomic profiles and clinical outcomes of 152 soft tissue (STS) and bone sarcoma (BS) patients sequenced at Stanford Cancer Institute as well as 206 STS patients from The Cancer Genome Atlas. Genomic profiles of 7733 STS from the Foundation Medicine database were used to assess the frequency of CDKN2A alterations in histological subtypes of sarcoma.Results: Compared to all other tumor types, sarcomas were found to carry the highest relative percentage of gene amplifications/deletions/fusions and the lowest average mutation count. The most commonly altered genes in STS were TP53 (47%), CDKN2A (22%), RB1 (22%), NF1 (11%), and ATRX (11%). When all genomic alterations were tested for prognostic significance in the specific Stanford cohort of localized STS, only CDKN2A alterations correlated significantly with prognosis, with a hazard ratio (HR) of 2.83 for overall survival (p=0.017). These findings were validated in the TCGA dataset where CDKN2A altered patients had significantly worse overall survival with a HR of 2.7 (p=0.002). Analysis of 7733 STS patients from Foundation One showed high prevalence of CDKN2A alterations in malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors, myxofibrosarcomas, and undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcomas.Conclusion: Our clinico-genomic profiling of STS shows that CDKN2A deletion was the most prevalent DNA copy number aberration and was associated with poor prognosis.
View details for DOI 10.1186/s13569-019-0122-5
View details for PubMedID 31528332
Soft tissue sarcomas such as leiomyosarcoma (LMS) pose a clinical challenge because systemic treatment options show only modest therapeutic benefit. Discovery and validation of targetable vulnerabilities is essential. To discover putative kinase fusions, we analyzed existing transcriptomic data from LMS clinical samples. Potentially oncogenic ALK rearrangements were confirmed by application of multiple RNA-sequencing fusion detection algorithms and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). We functionally validated the oncogenic potential and targetability of discovered kinase fusions through biochemical, cell-based (Ba/F3, NIH3T3 and murine smooth muscle cell) and in vivo tumor modelling approaches. We identified ALK rearrangements in 9 of 377 (2.4%) LMS patients, including a novel KANK2-ALK fusion and a recurrent ACTG2-ALK fusion. Functional characterization of the novel ALK fusion, KANK2-ALK, demonstrates it is a dominant oncogene in Ba/F3 or NIH3T3 model systems, and has tumorigenic potential when introduced into smooth muscle cells. Oral monotherapy with targeted ALK kinase inhibitor lorlatinib significantly inhibits tumor growth and prolongs survival in a murine model of KANK2-ALK leiomyosarcoma. These results provide the first functional validation of a targetable oncogenic kinase fusion as a driver in a subset of leiomyosarcomas. Overall, these findings suggest that some soft tissue sarcomas may harbor previously unknown kinase gene translocations, and their discovery may propel new therapeutic strategies in this treatment-refractory cancer. Implications: A subset of leiomyosarcomas harbor previously unrecognized oncogenic ALK fusions that are highly responsive to ALK inhibitors and thus these data emphasize the importance of detailed genomic investigations of leiomyosarcoma tumors.
View details for PubMedID 30518629
Low-grade endometrial stromal sarcomas (LGESS) harbor chromosomal translocations that affect proteins associated with chromatin remodeling Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2), including SUZ12, PHF1 and EPC1. Roughly half of LGESS also demonstrate nuclear accumulation of β-catenin, which is a hallmark of Wnt signaling activation. However, the targets affected by the fusion proteins and the role of Wnt signaling in the pathogenesis of these tumors remain largely unknown.Here we report the results of a meta-analysis of three independent gene expression profiling studies on LGESS and immunohistochemical evaluation of nuclear expression of β-catenin and Lef1 in 112 uterine sarcoma specimens obtained from 20 LGESS and 89 LMS patients.Our results demonstrate that 143 out of 310 genes overexpressed in LGESS are known to be directly regulated by SUZ12. In addition, our gene expression meta-analysis shows activation of multiple genes implicated in Wnt signaling. We further emphasize the role of the Wnt signaling pathway by demonstrating concordant nuclear expression of β-catenin and Lef1 in 7/16 LGESS.Based on our findings, we suggest that LGESS-specific fusion proteins disrupt the repressive function of the PRC2 complex similar to the mechanism seen in synovial sarcoma, where the SS18-SSX fusion proteins disrupt the mSWI/SNF (BAF) chromatin remodeling complex. We propose that these fusion proteins in LGESS contribute to overexpression of Wnt ligands with subsequent activation of Wnt signaling pathway and formation of an active β-catenin/Lef1 transcriptional complex. These observations could lead to novel therapeutic approaches that focus on the Wnt pathway in LGESS.
View details for PubMedID 29544705
Endometrial stromal sarcomas (ESSs) are mesenchymal uterine tumors characterized by recurrent genetic events, most commonly chromosomal rearrangements, that create oncogenic gene fusions. High-grade endometrial stromal sarcomas (HG-ESSs), as defined in the 2014 World Health Organization Classification, typically contain oncogenic YWHAE-NUTM2 fusions; however, although not well characterized, there are tumors morphologically overlapping with HG-ESS that do not contain the YWHAE-NUTM2 fusions. These fusions are also found in certain pediatric primitive sarcomas, including clear cell sarcoma of the kidney and soft tissue undifferentiated round cell sarcoma of infancy. A subset of these same pediatric sarcomas lack YWHAE-NUTM2 fusions and instead have internal tandem duplications (ITDs) involving exon 15 of BCOR (BCOR ITD). We investigated the presence of BCOR ITD by targeted sequencing in a series of 31 uterine sarcomas, comprising 5 low-grade ESS, 13 uterine sarcomas diagnosed as HG-ESS, and 13 undifferentiated uterine sarcomas. BCOR ITD were present in 1 uterine sarcoma diagnosed as HG-ESS and 2 undifferentiated sarcomas with uniform nuclear features, all of which lacked any of the recurrent chromosome translocations known to occur in ESS. These 3 high-grade sarcomas with BCOR ITD affected young patients (average age, 24) and morphologically were composed of nonpleomorphic spindle cells admixed with epithelioid and round cell areas. Focal myxoid stroma was present in 2 cases. Mitotic activity was brisk, necrosis was present, and there was lymphovascular involvement in all cases. The 3 uterine sarcomas with BCOR ITD exhibited diffuse cyclin D1 immunohistochemical expression and there was diffuse BCOR expression in the 2 cases tested. Long-term follow-up in 2 patients revealed 1 to be tumor-free after 22 years and the other to die of disease after 8 years. In conclusion, BCOR ITD is an oncogenic alternative to YWHAE-NUTM2 fusion in high-grade uterine sarcomas with uniform nuclear features. We propose that neoplasms with the morphology described and BCOR ITD be regarded as a unique subtype of high-grade uterine sarcoma, possibly within the family of endometrial stromal neoplasia.
View details for PubMedID 29200103
The clinical utility of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) monitoring has been shown in tumors that harbor highly recurrent mutations. Leiomyosarcoma (LMS) represents a type of tumor with a wide spectrum of heterogeneous genomic abnormalities; thus, targeting hotspot mutations or a narrow genomic region for ctDNA detection may not be practical. Here we demonstrate a combinatorial approach that integrates different sequencing protocols for the orthogonal detection of single nucleotide variants (SNVs), small indels and copy number alterations (CNAs) in ctDNA.We employed Cancer Personalized Profiling by deep Sequencing (CAPP-Seq) for the analysis of SNVs and indels, together with a genome-wide interrogation of CNAs by Genome Representation Profiling (GRP). We profiled 28 longitudinal plasma samples and 25 tumor specimens from 7 patients with LMS.We detected ctDNA in 6 of 7 of these patients with >98% specificity for mutant allele fractions down to a level of 0.01%. We show that results from CAPP-Seq and GRP are highly concordant, and the combination of these methods allows for more comprehensive monitoring of ctDNA by profiling a wide spectrum of tumor-specific markers. By analyzing multiple tumor specimens in individual patients obtained from different sites and at different times during treatment, we observed clonal evolution of these tumors that was reflected by ctDNA profiles.Our strategy allows for a comprehensive monitoring of a broad spectrum of tumor-specific markers in plasma. Our approach may be clinically useful not only in LMS but also in other tumor types that lack recurrent genomic alterations.
View details for PubMedID 29463554
Endometrial stromal tumors include translocation-associated low- and high-grade endometrial stromal sarcomas (ESS) and highly malignant undifferentiated uterine sarcomas (UUS). UUS is considered a poorly defined group of aggressive tumors and is often seen as a diagnosis of exclusion after ESS and leiomyosarcoma (LMS) have been ruled out. We performed a comprehensive analysis of gene expression, copy number variation, point mutations, and immune cell infiltrates in the largest series to date of all major types of uterine sarcomas to shed light on the biology of UUS and to identify potential novel therapeutic targets. We show that UUS tumors have a distinct molecular profile from LMS and ESS. Gene expression and immunohistochemical analyses revealed the presence of high numbers of tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) in UUS, which makes UUS patients suitable candidates for therapies targeting TAMs. Our results show a high genomic instability of UUS and downregulation of several TP53-mediated tumor suppressor genes, such as NDN, CDH11, and NDRG4. Moreover, we demonstrate that UUS carry somatic mutations in several oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes implicated in RAS/PI3K/AKT/mTOR, ERBB3, and Hedgehog signaling.
View details for DOI 10.1172/jci.insight.94033
View details for PubMedID 28570276
Synovial sarcoma (SynSa) is an aggressive mesenchymal tumor, comprising approximately 10% of all soft tissue sarcomas. Over half of SynSa patients develop metastasis or local recurrence, but the underlying molecular mechanisms of the aggressive clinical behavior remain poorly characterized.Sixty-four frozen tumor specimens from 54 SynSa patients were subjected to array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) and gene expression profiling. The examined set of tumor specimens included 16 primary tumors from untreated patients who did not develop metastasis/local recurrence (SynSa1 group), 26 primary tumors from untreated patients who developed metastases or local recurrence during follow-up (SynSa2 group), and 22 metachronous metastatic/recurrent SynSa tumors (SynSa3 group).AURKA and KIF18A, which play important roles in various mitotic events, were the two most up-regulated genes in SynSa2 and SynSa3 groups compared to the SynSa1 group. Expression profiles of SynSa2 and SynSa3 tumors did not show any significant differences. Analysis of genomic index (GI) based on aCGH profiles demonstrated that the SynSa1 group consisted of tumors with significantly less complex genomes compared to SynSa2 and SynSa3 groups. There was no significant difference in genome complexity between SynSa2 and SynSa3 tumors.Primary SynSa tumors from patients who develop metastases or local recurrence share common molecular features with metastatic/recurrent tumors. Presented data suggest that the aggressive clinical SynSa behavior is determined early in tumorigenesis and might be related to impaired regulation of mitotic mechanisms. This article is part of a Directed Issue entitled: Rare Cancers.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biocel.2014.05.006
View details for Web of Science ID 000340340400060
View details for PubMedID 24842110
Ewing sarcoma (ES) is a group of highly aggressive small round cell tumors of bone or soft tissue with high metastatic potential and low cure rate. ES tumors are associated with a rapid osteolysis and necrosis. The currently accepted clinical prognostic parameters do not accurately predict survival of high-risk patients. Moreover, neither the subtype of EWS-FLI1/ERG in the tumor, nor the detection of fusion transcripts in the peripheral blood (PB) samples, has prognostic value in ES patients. We evaluated the prevalence of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in 34 adult ES patients. Since CTCs were confirmed in only small subset of patients, we further explored the expression profiles of PB leukocytes using a panel of genes associated with immune system status and increased tumor invasiveness. Moreover, we analyzed the alterations of the routine blood tests in the examined cohort of patients and correlated our findings with the clinical outcome. A uniform decrease in ZAP70 expression in PB cells among all ES patients, as compared to healthy individuals, was observed. Monocytosis and the abnormal expression of CDH2 and CDT2 genes in the PB cells significantly correlated with poor prognosis in ES patients. Our study supports the previously proposed hypothesis of systemic nature of ES. Based on the PB cell expression profiles, we propose a mechanism by which immune system may be involved in intensification of osteoclastogenesis and disease progression in ES patients. Moreover, we demonstrate the prognostic value of molecular PB testing at the time of routine histopathological diagnosis.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s12032-014-0109-2
View details for Web of Science ID 000340095700028
View details for PubMedID 25008066
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4119582
Soft tissue and bone sarcomas comprise a heterogeneous group of mesenchymal tumors that include roughly 130 distinct diagnostic entities. Many of them are exceptionally rare, with only few cases diagnosed worldwide each year. Development of novel targeted treatment in this group of tumors is of special importance since many sarcoma subtypes are resistant to conventional chemotherapy and the effective therapeutic options are limited. In this review we aim to discuss the molecular implications for targeted therapy in selected rare soft tissue and bone sarcoma subtypes, including dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP), alveolar soft part sarcoma (ASPS), clear cell sarcoma (CCS), giant cell tumor of bone (GCTB) and perivascular epithelioid cell neoplasms (PEComas). This article is part of a Directed Issue entitled: Rare cancers.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biocel.2014.03.024
View details for Web of Science ID 000340340400056
View details for PubMedID 24704529
Synovial sarcoma (SS) occurs in both children and adults, although metastatic events are much more common in adults. Whereas the importance of the t(X;18) translocation in SS oncogenesis is well established, the genetic basis of SS metastasis is still poorly understood. We recently reported expression (CINSARC; Complexity Index in Sarcoma) and Genomic Index prognostic signatures related to chromosome integrity in sarcomas and GI stromal tumors. Here we investigate whether these signatures can also predict outcomes in SS.One hundred patients who had primary untreated SS tumors were selected for expression and genomic profiling in a training/validation approach.CINSARC and Genomic Index have strong independent and validated prognostic values (P < .001). By comparing expression profiles of tumors with or without metastasis, 14 genes that are common to the CINSARC signature were identified, and the two top-ranked genes, KIF14 and CDCA2, were validated as prognostic markers in an independent cohort. Comparing genomic profiles of adult versus pediatric SS, we show that metastasis is associated with genome complexity in both situations and that the adult genome is more frequently rearranged. Accordingly, pediatric patients with an even genomic profile do not develop metastasis.Metastasis development in SS is strongly associated with chromosome complexity, and CINSARC and Genomic Index are validated independent prognostic factors. The differences in metastasis frequency between adults and children are associated with genome instability, which is much more frequent in adults. Genomic Index is potentially the best overall biomarker and clearly the most clinically relevant, considering that genome profiling from formalin-fixed samples is already used in pathology.
View details for DOI 10.1200/JCO.2012.46.0147
View details for Web of Science ID 000314820400019
View details for PubMedID 23319690
On the basis of the recently published results of a clinical trial comparing 12 and 36 months of imatinib in adjuvant therapy for gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs), which demonstrated clinical benefit of longer imatinib treatment in terms of delaying recurrences and improving overall survival, both the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency have updated their recommendations and approved 36 months of imatinib treatment in patients with v-kit Hardy-Zuckerman 4 feline sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KIT)-positive GISTs (also known as CD117-positive GISTs) at high risk of recurrence after surgical resection of a primary tumor. This article discusses patient selection criteria for extended adjuvant therapy with imatinib, different classifications of risk of recurrence, and assessment of the response to therapy.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s40291-013-0018-7
View details for Web of Science ID 000318043100002
View details for PubMedID 23355099
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3565084
Synovial sarcoma (SS) is an aggressive type of tumor, comprising approximately 10 % of soft tissue sarcomas. Over 90 % of SS cases are characterized by the t(X;18)(p11.2;q11.2) translocation, which results mainly in the formation of oncogenic SS18-SSX1 or SS18-SSX2 fusions. In a typical SS18-SSX fusion transcript, exon 10 of SS18 is fused to exon 6 of SSX1/2. However, several variant fusion transcripts have been already described. In the present study, we examined the fusion transcript type in a series of 40 primary untreated SS tumor specimens using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and fluorescence in situ hybridization assay. We detected SS18-SSX1 transcript in 22 (55 %) patients and SS18-SSX2 transcript in 17 (42.5 %) patients, while in one patient, none of SS18-SSX1/2 fusion transcripts were identified. Among the cases under study, two tumors carried novel SS18-SSX1 and SS18-SSX2 variant translocations that were allegedly created by an alternative splicing, and in additional case, an unusual translocation variant previously described by other group was found. Our data suggest that alternative splicing may play an important role in novel fusion transcript formation, and additionally we show that it may be a recurrent event in SS. Furthermore, we describe the first case of a complex rearrangement possibly linking SS to REPS2 gene.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s13277-012-0486-0
View details for Web of Science ID 000311201500046
View details for PubMedID 22976541
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3501176
Synovial sarcoma (SS), an aggressive type of soft tissue tumor, occurs mostly in adolescents and young adults. The origin and molecular mechanism of the development of SS remain only partially known. Over 90% of SS cases are characterized by the t(X;18)(p11.2;q11.2) translocation, which results mainly in the formation of SS18-SSX1 or SS18-SSX2 fusion genes. In recent years, several reports describing direct and indirect interactions of SS18-SSX1/SSX2 oncoproteins have been published. These reports suggest that the fusion proteins particularly affect the cell growth, cell proliferation, TP53 pathway, and chromatin remodeling mechanisms, contributing to SS oncogenesis. Additional research efforts are required to fully explore the protein-protein interactions of SS18-SSX oncoproteins and the pathways that are regulated by these partnerships for the development of effective targeted therapy.
View details for DOI 10.1155/2012/249219
View details for PubMedID 22550415
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3329658
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