J Cancer 2017; 8(5):730-736. doi:10.7150/jca.17887

Research Paper

An investigation of the role of gene copy number variations in sorafenib sensitivity in metastatic hepatocellular carcinoma patients

Ji Yun Lee1,2*, Mineui Hong3,4*, Jeeyun Lee1, Sujin Lee1, Kyoung-Mee Kim3,4, Cheolkeun Park4, Ho Yeong Lim1✉

1. Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea;
2. Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea;
3. Center for Companion Diagnostics, Innovative Cancer Medicine Institute, Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, Korea;
4. Department of Pathology, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
* These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract

Background: Metastatic hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a highly aggressive tumor with limited treatment options. While sorafenib has recently been shown to provide a survival advantage in patients with advanced HCC, the overall outcomes such as time to progression (TTP) and overall survival (OS) ought to be further improved. To that end, several targeted agents aimed at amplified oncogenes such as HER2 and FGFR2 have recently been developed. In this study, we aimed to identify genetic markers in the form of copy number variations (CNVs) that influence clinical outcomes post-sorafenib treatment in advanced HCC patients.

Methods: We surveyed 38 metastatic HCC patients who were treated with sorafenib for the presence of CNVs using the NanoString nCounter assay.

Results: The median TTP and OS for all patients were 2.7 months (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.0-3.3 months) and 13.4 months (95% CI: 8.4-18.4 months), respectively. Several genes previously implicated in liver cancer were amplified, including CCND1 (n = 4), CDKN1A (n = 2), KRAS (n = 2), MDM2 (n = 1), and ERBB2 (n = 1). However, we found no correlations between CNVs and survival in our sorafenib-treated patients.

Conclusions: The clinical features and biomarkers that account for sensitivity to sorafenib in HCC are complicated and remain unclear. Further investigation to identify predictive biomarkers and therapeutic strategies, including combining sorafenib with other target agents, are warranted.

Keywords: Hepatocellular carcinoma, metastatic disease, copy number variations, sorafenib.

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How to cite this article:
Lee JY, Hong M, Lee J, Lee S, Kim KM, Park C, Lim HY. An investigation of the role of gene copy number variations in sorafenib sensitivity in metastatic hepatocellular carcinoma patients. J Cancer 2017; 8(5):730-736. doi:10.7150/jca.17887. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v08p0730.htm