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Saranya Chumsri, Ethan S. Sokol, Aixa E. Soyano-Muller, Ricardo D. Parrondo, Gina A. Reynolds, Aziza Nassar and E. Aubrey Thompson

Increasing data support the importance of preexisting host immune response and neoantigen burden for determining response to immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). In lung cancer and melanoma, tumor mutational burden (TMB) has emerged as an independent biomarker for ICI response. However, the significance of TMB in breast cancer, particularly in the context of PD-L1 negativity, remains unclear. This report describes a patient with HER2-negative breast cancer with high TMB and an apolipoprotein B mRNA editing enzyme, catalytic polypeptide-like (APOBEC) trinucleotide signature; her disease was refractory to multiple lines of treatments but achieved durable complete response using ICIs and capecitabine. Additional analysis of the tumor revealed a low amount of stromal tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (sTILs) and PD-L1 negativity, reflecting a poor preexisting host immune response. In collaboration with Foundation Medicine, comprehensive genomic profiling from 14,867 patients with breast cancer with the FoundationOne test was evaluated. Using the cutoff of ≥10 mutations/megabase (mut/Mb) for high TMB, PD-L1 positivity and TMB-high populations were not significantly overlapping (odds ratio, 1.02; P=.87). Up to 79% of TMB-high tumors with >20 mut/Mb were PD-L1–negative. Our study highlights that despite having low TILs and PD-L1 negativity, some patients may still experience response to ICIs.

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Saranya Chumsri, Jodi Weidler, Siraj Ali, Sohail Balasubramanian, Gerald Wallweber, Lisa DeFazio-Eli, Ahmed Chenna, Weidong Huang, Angela DeRidder, Lindsay Goicocheal and Edith A. Perez

In the current genomic era, increasing evidence demonstrates that approximately 2% of HER2-negative breast cancers, by current standard testings, harbor activating mutations of ERBB2. However, whether patients with HER2-negative breast cancer with activating mutations of ERBB2 also experience response to anti-HER2 therapies remains unclear. This case report describes a patient with HER2-nonamplified heavily pretreated breast cancer who experienced prolonged response to trastuzumab in combination with pertuzumab and fulvestrant. Further molecular analysis demonstrated that her tumors had an elevated HER2 dimerization that corresponded to ERBB2 S310F mutation. Located in the extracellular domain of the HER2 protein, this mutation was reported to promote noncovalent dimerization that results in the activation of the downstream signaling pathways. This case highlights the fact that HER2-targeted therapy may be valuable in patients harboring an ERBB2 S310F mutation.