Metastatic melanoma is characterized by complex genomic alterations, including a high rate of mutations in driver genes and widespread deletions and amplifications encompassing various chromosome regions. Among them, chromosome 7 is frequently gained in BRAF-mutant melanoma, inducing a mutant allele–specific imbalance. Although BRAF amplification is a known mechanism of acquired resistance to therapy with MAPK inhibitors, it is still unclear if BRAF copy-number variation and BRAF mutant allele imbalance at baseline can be associated with response to treatment. In this study, we used a multimodal approach to assess BRAF copy number and mutant allele frequency in pretreatment melanoma samples from 46 patients who received MAPK inhibitor–based therapy, and we analyzed the association with progression-free survival. We found that 65% patients displayed BRAF gains, often supported by chromosome 7 polysomy. In addition, we observed that 64% patients had a balanced BRAF-mutant/wild-type allele ratio, whereas 14% and 23% patients had low and high BRAF mutant allele frequency, respectively. Notably, a significantly higher risk of progression was observed in patients with a diploid BRAF status versus those with BRAF gains [HR, 2.86; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.29–6.35; P ¼ 0.01] and in patients with low percentage versus those with a balanced BRAF mutant allele percentage (HR, 4.54; 95% CI, 1.33–15.53; P ¼ 0.016). Our data suggest that quantitative analysis of the BRAF gene could be useful to select the melanoma patients who are most likely to benefit from therapy with MAPK inhibitors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research