Cancers (Basel) 2019 01 27;11(2). Epub 2019 Jan 27.
Department of Molecular Medicine, University La Sapienza, 00161 Rome, Italy.
The response of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) to the first-line conventional combination therapy is highly variable, reflecting the elevated heterogeneity of the disease. The genetic alterations underlying this heterogeneity have been thoroughly characterized through omic approaches requiring elevated efforts and costs. In order to translate the knowledge of CRC molecular heterogeneity into a practical clinical approach, we utilized a simplified Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) based platform to screen a cohort of 77 patients treated with first-line conventional therapy. Samples were sequenced using a panel of hotspots and targeted regions of 22 genes commonly involved in CRC. This revealed 51 patients carrying actionable gene mutations, 22 of which carried druggable alterations. These mutations were frequently associated with additional genetic alterations. To take into account this molecular complexity and assisted by an unbiased bioinformatic analysis, we defined three subgroups of patients carrying distinct molecular patterns. We demonstrated these three molecular subgroups are associated with a different response to first-line conventional combination therapies. The best outcome was achieved in patients exclusively carrying mutations on and/or genes. By contrast, in patients carrying mutations in any of the other genes, alone or associated with mutations of , the expected response is much worse compared to patients with exclusive mutations. Additionally, our data indicate that the standard approach has limited efficacy in patients without any mutations in the genes included in the panel. In conclusion, we identified a reliable and easy-to-use approach for a simplified molecular-based stratification of mCRC patients that predicts the efficacy of the first-line conventional combination therapy.