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Dwight H. Owen, Bhavana Konda, Jennifer Sipos, Tom Liu, Amy Webb, Matthew D. Ringel, Cynthia D. Timmers and Manisha H. Shah

BRAF V600E mutations occur in approximately 40% of all patients with papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) and are associated with a worse prognosis in population studies. Treatment with single-agent BRAF inhibitors can result in nondurable partial responses (PRs) in clinical trials, but resistance inevitably develops. The mechanisms of resistance are not completely understood, but in non-thyroid tumors harboring BRAF V600E mutations, resistance has been ascribed to concurrent or acquired mutations in MEK1/2, RAC1, KRAS, and NRAS. This case report describes a patient with radioactive iodine–refractory metastatic PTC treated in a clinical trial with combination BRAF and MEK inhibition who achieved a durable PR. At time of progression, biopsy revealed an acquired KRAS G12V–activating mutation. The patient subsequently went on to have a PR to cabozantinib therapy in the clinical trial. This is the first reported case of an acquired KRAS-activating mutation that developed during treatment with BRAF and MEK inhibition in a patient with BRAF-mutated PTC. The KRAS mutation was also detected in peripheral blood samples taken as part of the trial, indicating that resistant mutations may be identified through noninvasive means. The identification of resistant mutations in patients at time of progression is necessary to identify possible therapeutic options including potential clinical trials.

ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01723202

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Jarred Burkart, Dwight Owen, Manisha H. Shah, Sherif R. Z. Abdel-Misih, Sameek Roychowdhury, Robert Wesolowski, Sigurdis Haraldsdottir, Julie W. Reeser, Eric Samorodnitsky, Amy Smith and Bhavana Konda

Mutations in the RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK pathway leading to constitutive activation and uncontrolled cellular growth have been identified in various human malignancies, making this pathway a target for potential therapeutics. The activating BRAFV600E mutation is one well-characterized oncogenic mutation that has been described and targeted with clinical success in various malignancies, including melanoma and hairy cell leukemia. Although BRAF-directed treatments have yielded clinical benefit in a subset of tumor types, such as melanoma, thyroid cancer, and lung cancer, BRAF inhibition fails to confer a clinical benefit in colon cancer. Identification of patients for whom BRAF inhibition may produce clinically meaningful outcomes is imperative. The incidence of BRAF mutations in neuroendocrine carcinoma (NEC) is estimated to be 5% to 10%. A recent case series demonstrated benefit in targeting the BRAFV600E mutation in metastatic high-grade rectal NECs. Combination BRAF and MEK inhibition is known to yield improved outcomes compared with BRAF inhibition alone in melanoma. This report presents 2 patients with high-grade colorectal NECs who had different responses to treatment with combined BRAF/MEK inhibition after experiencing disease progression through first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. One patient experienced an excellent initial response to therapy before ultimately experiencing progression, and in the other patient initially had stable disease before eventually experiencing progression. These cases highlight the complicated role BRAF mutations play in gastrointestinal NECs, and the need for further research to identify not only patients who may benefit from BRAF-directed therapies but also strategies to avoid development of resistance.