No effective systemic treatment exists for malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs). These tumors have been reported to show increased activity in the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway from the loss of neurofibromatosis-1 regulation and occasionally from BRAF V600E mutation. A patient with sporadic metastatic MPNST and the BRAF V600E mutation was treated with standard doses of sorafenib and later vemurafenib and followed for response. The patient showed a rapid but modest and transient response to sorafenib and a very dramatic response to vemurafenib. This case represents the first report of successful systemic treatment of MPNST with an inhibitor of the BRAF V600E mutation. It will be important to define the general utility of this approach and related therapies in this disease.
Henry G. Kaplan, Steven Rostad, Jeffrey S. Ross, Siraj M. Ali and Sherri Z. Millis
Background: The aim of this study was to determine the frequency of alterations in BRAF and other RAS/RAF genes, as well as other targetable pathways in malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs). Patients and Methods: Pathology specimens were available for 2 cohorts: (1) patients with MPNST at Swedish Cancer Institute (n=17) from 2004 through 2016, and (2) patients with MPNST evaluated for >300 genomic alterations at Foundation Medicine from 2014 through 2016 (n=186; including 2 Swedish patients with BRAF-mutated MPNST). Results: Of 201 MPNSTs, 13 (6.5%) demonstrated BRAF alterations. In the Foundation Medicine cohort, 10 of 84 tumors (11.9%) with no NF1 alterations had BRAF mutations (5 were V600E, 5 other), as did 3 of 102 (2.9%) tumors with NF1 alterations (1 V600E, 2 other). In the Foundation Medicine cohort, 47% of patients had an alteration in at least one other gene in the RAS/RAF pathway (not including NF1 or BRAF); 46% had alterations in the PI3 pathway, with 70% having alterations in at least 1 of the 2 pathways; 57% had a CDKN2A alteration (80% in BRAF-mutated and 71% in NF1-altered patients); and 70% had an alteration in DNA repair genes. MPNST, both NF1 wild-type and NF1-mutated, often harbor alterations in the RAS/RAF pathway as well as changes related to DNA repair and CDKN2A/B. V600E and other mutations occur in BRAF, suggesting the need for second-generation activating BRAF inhibitors. The concurrence of BRAF and/or NF1 alterations with CDKN2A/B mutations, in particular, may be significant in the transformation of neurologic tumors from benign to malignant. Conclusions: All MPNSTs would benefit from a comprehensive genomic analysis. Treatments targeted to RAS/RAF, DNA repair, and CDKN2A/B pathways should be used and/or developed to treat this uncommon tumor.