Whole-Exome Sequencing in Two Extreme Phenotypes of Response to VEGF-Targeted Therapies in Patients With Metastatic Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma

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Advances in next-generation sequencing have provided a unique opportunity to understand the biology of disease and mechanisms of sensitivity or resistance to specific agents. Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is a heterogeneous disease and highly variable clinical responses have been observed with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)–targeted therapy (VEGF-TT). We hypothesized that whole-exome sequencing analysis might identify genotypes associated with extreme response or resistance to VEGF-TT in metastatic (mRCC). Patients with mRCC who had received first-line sunitinib or pazopanib and were in 2 extreme phenotypes of response were identified. Extreme responders (ERs) were defined as those with partial response or complete response for 3 or more years (n=13) and primary refractory patients (PRPs) were defined as those with progressive disease within the first 3 months of therapy (n=14). International Metastatic RCC Database Consortium prognostic scores were not significantly different between the groups (P=.67). Considering the genes known to be mutated in RCC at significant frequency, PBRM1 mutations were identified in 7 ERs (54%) versus 1 PRP (7%) (P=.01). In addition, mutations in TP53 (n=4) were found only in PRPs (P=.09). Our data suggest that mutations in some genes in RCC may impact response to VEGF-TT.

These authors contributed equally to this manuscript.

Correspondence: Toni K. Choueiri, MD, Lank Center of Genitourinary Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 450 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215. E-mail: Toni_Choueiri@dfci.harvard.edu

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