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The non-small cell lung cancer EGFR extracellular domain mutation, M277E, is oncogenic and drug-sensitive

Authors Yu S, Zhang Y, Pan YJ, Cheng C, Sun YH, Chen HQ

Received 9 January 2017

Accepted for publication 10 June 2017

Published 12 September 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 4507—4515


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 6

Editor who approved publication: Dr Samir Farghaly

Su Yu,1,2 Yang Zhang,1 Yunjian Pan,1 Chao Cheng,1,3 Yihua Sun,1,3 Haiquan Chen1–4

1Department of Thoracic Surgery, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, Shanghai, China; 2Cancer Research Center, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, Shanghai, China; 3Department of Oncology, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, Shanghai, China; 4Institutes of Biomedical Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai, China

Purpose: To identify novel oncogenic mutations in non-small cell lung cancer patient specimens that lack mutations in known targetable genes (“pan-negative” patients).
Methods: Comprehensive mutational analyses were performed on 1,356 lung adenocarcinoma specimens. In this cohort of patients, common lung cancer oncogenic driver mutations were detected in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) kinase domain, the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 kinase domain, as well as the KRAS, BRAF, ALK, ROS1 and RET genes. A sub-cohort of pan-negative patient specimens was assayed for mutations in the EGFR extracellular domain (ECD). Additionally, EGFR mutant NIH-3T3 stable cell lines were constructed and assessed for protein content, anchorage-independent growth, and tumor formation in xenograft models to identify oncogenic mutations. BaF3 lymphocytes were also used to test sensitivities of the mutations to tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
Results: In pan-negative lung adenocarcinoma cases, a novel oncogenic EGFR ECD mutation was identified (M277E). EGFR M277E mutations encoded oncoproteins that transformed NIH-3T3 cells to grow in the absence of exogenous epidermal growth factor. Transformation was further evidenced by anchorage-independent growth and tumor formation in immunocompromised xenograft mouse models. Finally, as seen in the canonical EGFR L858R mutation, the M277E mutation conferred sensitivity to both erlotinib and cetuximab in BaF3 cell lines and to erlotinib in xenograft models.
Conclusion: Here, a new EGFR driver mutation, M277E, was identified in the ECD of a lung adenocarcinoma specimen. For patients with M277E-mutant lung adenocarcinoma who experienced disease recurrence, treatment with an EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor may predict good prognosis.

Keywords: EGFR extracellular domain mutation, non-small cell lung cancer, oncogene, drug sensitive

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