Performance characteristics of next-generation sequencing in clinical mutation detection of colorectal cancers

Lisa Haley, Li Hui Tseng, Gang Zheng, Jonathan Dudley, Derek A. Anderson, Nilofer S. Azad, Christopher D. Gocke, James R. Eshleman, Ming Tseh Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Activating mutations in downstream genes of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) pathway may cause anti-EGFR resistance in patients with colorectal cancers. We present performance characteristics of a next-generation sequencing assay designed to detect such mutations. In this retrospective quality assessment study, we analyzed mutation detected in the KRAS, NRAS, BRAF, and PIK3CA genes by a clinically validated next-generation sequencing assay in 310 colorectal cancer specimens. Tumor cellularity and mutant allele frequency were analyzed to identify tumor heterogeneity and mutant allele-specific imbalance. Next-generation sequencing showed precise measurement of mutant allele frequencies and detected 23% of mutations with 2-20% mutant allele frequencies. Of the KRAS mutations detected, 17% were outside of codons 12 and 13. Among PIK3CA mutations, 48% were outside of codons 542, 545, and 1047. The percentage of tumors with predicted resistance to anti-EGFR therapy increased from 40% when testing for only mutations in KRAS exon 2 to 47% when testing for KRAS exons 2-4, 48% when testing for KRAS and NRAS exons 2-4, 58% when including BRAF codon 600 mutations, and 59% when adding PIK3CA exon 20 mutations. Right-sided colorectal cancers carried a higher risk of predicted anti-EGFR resistance. A concomitant KRAS mutation was detected in 51% of PIK3CA, 23% of NRAS, and 33% of kinase-impaired BRAF-mutated tumors. Lower than expected mutant allele frequency indicated tumor heterogeneity, while higher than expected mutant allele frequency indicated mutant allele-specific imbalance. Two paired neuroendocrine carcinomas and adjacent adenomas showed identical KRAS mutations, but only PIK3CA mutations in neuroendocrine carcinomas. Next-generation sequencing is a robust tool for mutation detection in clinical laboratories. It demonstrates high analytic sensitivity and broad reportable range, and it provides simultaneous detection of concomitant mutations and a quantitative measurement of mutant allele frequencies to predict tumor heterogeneity and mutant allele-specific imbalance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1390-1399
Number of pages10
JournalModern Pathology
Volume28
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 3 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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