Heterogeneity of resistance mutations detectable by nextgeneration sequencing in TKI-treated lung adenocarcinoma

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EGFR-mutated lung adenocarcinomas routinely develop resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI). To better characterize the relative frequencies of the resistance mechanisms, we analyzed 48 EGFR-mutated TKI-resistant specimens from 41 patients. Next generation sequencing of post-treatment specimens detected EGFR p.T790M in 31 (79%) of 39 patients, PIK3CA mutations in 10 (26%), EGFR p.S768_V769delinsIL in one, and KRAS p.G12C in one. Five PIK3CA mutations were outside of codons 542, 545, and 1047. Three of four pre-treatment specimens did not carry the PIK3CA mutation found in the post-treatment sample. Small cell carcinoma transformation was identified in four patients; none had p.T790M, including two where p.T790M was identified in the co-existing adenocarcinoma. In p.T790M-mutated specimens, the allele frequency was less than 5% in 24% of cases. p.T790M allele frequency was usually lower than that of the sensitizing mutation indicating that the resistance mutation was present either in a subset of cells or, if the sensitizing mutation was amplified, in a subset of the sensitizing alleles of a dominant clone. Eight patients had multiple resistance mutations, suggesting either multiple separate resistant clones or a single clone harboring multiple resistance mechanisms. PIK3CA mutations appear to be a more significant resistance mechanism than previously recognized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45237-45248
Number of pages12
Issue number29
StatePublished - 2016


  • EGFR
  • Lung cancer
  • Next generation sequencing
  • PIK3CA
  • Tyrosine kinase resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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