4 years ago

A prospective pilot study of genome-wide exome and transcriptome profiling in patients with small cell lung cancer progressing after first-line therapy

Ashish Sangal, Timothy G. Whitsett, Heather Barilla, Jeffrey A. Kiefer, Sara A. Byron, Jessica Aldrich, Glen J. Weiss, David W. Craig, John D. Carpten

by Glen J. Weiss, Sara A. Byron, Jessica Aldrich, Ashish Sangal, Heather Barilla, Jeffrey A. Kiefer, John D. Carpten, David W. Craig, Timothy G. Whitsett


Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) that has progressed after first-line therapy is an aggressive disease with few effective therapeutic strategies. In this prospective study, we employed next-generation sequencing (NGS) to identify therapeutically actionable alterations to guide treatment for advanced SCLC patients.


Twelve patients with SCLC were enrolled after failing platinum-based chemotherapy. Following informed consent, genome-wide exome and RNA-sequencing was performed in a CLIA-certified, CAP-accredited environment. Actionable targets were identified and therapeutic recommendations made from a pharmacopeia of FDA-approved drugs. Clinical response to genomically-guided treatment was evaluated by Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) 1.1.


The study completed its accrual goal of 12 evaluable patients. The minimum tumor content for successful NGS was 20%, with a median turnaround time from sample collection to genomics-based treatment recommendation of 27 days. At least two clinically actionable targets were identified in each patient, and six patients (50%) received treatment identified by NGS. Two had partial responses by RECIST 1.1 on a clinical trial involving a PD-1 inhibitor + irinotecan (indicated by MLH1 alteration). The remaining patients had clinical deterioration before NGS recommended therapy could be initiated.


Comprehensive genomic profiling using NGS identified clinically-actionable alterations in SCLC patients who progressed on initial therapy. Recommended PD-1 therapy generated partial responses in two patients. Earlier access to NGS guided therapy, along with improved understanding of those SCLC patients likely to respond to immune-based therapies, should help to extend survival in these cases with poor outcomes.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0179170

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