Research Papers:

Assessment of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor cytologic genotype diversity to guide personalized medicine using a custom gastroenteropancreatic next-generation sequencing panel

Ferga C. Gleeson _, Jesse S. Voss, Benjamin R. Kipp, Sarah E. Kerr, John S. Van Arnam, John R. Mills, Cherisse A. Marcou, Amber R. Schneider, Zheng Jin Tu, Michael R. Henry and Michael J. Levy

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:93464-93475. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.18750

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Ferga C. Gleeson1, Jesse S. Voss2, Benjamin R. Kipp2, Sarah E. Kerr2, John S. Van Arnam2, John R. Mills2, Cherisse A. Marcou2, Amber R. Schneider2, Zheng Jin Tu3, Michael R. Henry2 and Michael J. Levy1

1Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN, USA

2Department of Laboratory Medicine-Pathology, Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN, USA

3Divisions of Biomedical Statics & Informatics, Department of Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN, USA

Correspondence to:

Ferga C. Gleeson, email: [email protected]

Keywords: pancreas neuroendocrine tumor, endoscopic ultrasound fine needle aspiration, targeted next-generation sequencing, prognostic biomarker, predictive biomarker

Received: April 14, 2017     Accepted: May 23, 2017     Published: June 28, 2017


Background: Recent genetic studies have highlighted that alterations in MEN1, chromatin remodeling genes, and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway genes are the most frequent molecular events identified in pancreas neuroendocrine tumors (pNETs). The prognostic or predictive impact of these biomarkers and other less frequently observed aberrations, i.e. PTEN, TSC2 and PIK3CA are relatively unknown. The aims of this targeted next generation sequencing (NGS) study were to assess tumor cytology genotype diversity, to survey for potential adverse prognostic biomarkers and the prevalence of mTOR pathway variants.

Methods: Using a custom 15 gene gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumor panel, targeted NGS of archived (2002-2013) primary pNETs (n=90) and pNET liver metastasis (n=32) cytology smears was performed.

Results: The genetic variant landscape revealed that 21% and 28% of primary and metastatic liver pNETs harbored ≥ 2 variants per tumor, respectively. The most prevalent primary tumor variants were in the MEN1 (42%), DAXX (11%), ATRX (10%), and TSC2 (8%) genes. Patients harboring aberrations in TSC2, KRAS or TP53 were more likely to experience disease progression and reduced overall survival, when compared to individuals who were wild-type. The prevalence of these potential prognostic biomarkers in early disease was observed in 3.3% of the primary tumor cohort. mTOR pathway variants including alterations in PTEN, TSC2 and PIK3CA were identified in 10% and 12.5% of primary tumors and pNET liver metastasis, respectively.

Conclusion: Cytology based tumor genotyping revealed a broad spectrum of genetic variants including possible adverse prognostic biomarkers, reflective of an aggressive phenotype. It also demonstrated the prevalence of potential predictive biomarkers for mTOR pathway inhibitor sensitivity.

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