Purpose: Squamous cell carcinoma of the anal canal (ASCC) accounts for 2% to 4% of gastrointestinal malignancies in the United States and is increasing in incidence; however, genomic features of ASCC are incompletely characterized. Primary treatment of ASCC involves concurrent chemotherapy and radiation (CRT), but the mutational landscape of resistance to CRT is unknown. Here, we aim to compare mutational features of ASCC in the pre- and post-CRT setting.
Experimental Design: We perform whole-exome sequencing of primary (n = 31) and recurrent (n = 30) ASCCs and correlate findings with clinical data. We compare genomic features of matched pre- and post-CRT tumors to identify genomic features of CRT response. Finally, we investigate the mutational underpinnings of an extraordinary ASCC response to immunotherapy.
Results: We find that both primary and recurrent ASCC tumors harbor mutations in genes, such as PIK3CA and FBXW7, that are also mutated in other HPV-associated cancers. Overall mutational burden was not significantly different in pre- versus post-CRT tumors, and several examples of shared clonal driver mutations were identified. In two cases, clonally related pre- and post-CRT tumors harbored distinct oncogenic driver mutations in the same cancer gene (KRAS or FBXW7). A patient with recurrent disease achieved an exceptional response to anti-programmed death (PD-1) therapy, and genomic dissection revealed high mutational burden and predicted neoantigen load.
Conclusions: We perform comprehensive mutational analysis of ASCC and characterize mutational features associated with CRT. Although many primary and recurrent tumors share driver events, we identify several unique examples of clonal evolution in response to treatment. Clin Cancer Res; 1–9. ©2016 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Clinical Cancer Research Online (http://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received August 23, 2016.
- Revision received October 27, 2016.
- Accepted October 31, 2016.
- ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.