Targeted Deep Sequencing Uncovers Cryptic KIT Mutations in KIT/PDGFRA/SDH/RAS-P Wild-Type GIST

Annalisa Astolfi, Valentina Indio, Margherita Nannini, Maristella Saponara, Angela Schipani, Antonio De Leo, Annalisa Altimari, Bruno Vincenzi, Danila Comandini, Giovanni Grignani, Paola Secchiero, Milena Urbini, Maria Abbondanza Pantaleo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) are known to carry oncogenic KIT or PDGFRA mutations, or less commonly SDH or NF1 gene inactivation, with very rare cases harboring mutant BRAF or RAS alleles. Approximately 10% of GISTs are devoid of any of such mutations and are characterized by very limited therapeutic opportunities and poor response to standard treatments. Methods: Twenty-six sporadic KIT/PDGFRA/SDH/RAS-pathway wild type GIST were profiled for the molecular status of genes frequently altered in GIST by a targeted next generation sequencing (NGS) approach. Molecular findings were validated by alternative amplicon-based targeted sequencing, immunohistochemistry, gene expression profiling and Sanger sequencing. Results: Three patients harboring NF1 inactivating mutations were identified and excluded from further analysis. Intriguingly, five patients carried cryptic KIT alterations, mainly represented by low-allele-fraction mutations (12-16% allele ratio). These mutations were confirmed by another targeted NGS approaches and supported by CD117 immuno-staining, gene expression profiling, Sanger sequencing, with peak signals at the level of background noise, and by the patients' clinical course assessment. Conclusion: This study indicates that ~20% patients diagnosed with a KIT/PDGFRA/SDH/RAS-pathway wild-type GIST are bona-fide carriers of pathogenic KIT mutations, thus expected to be eligible for and responsive to the various therapeutic lines of TK-inhibitors in use for KIT/PDGFRA-mutant GIST. The centralization for a second level molecular analysis of GIST samples diagnosed as wild-type for KIT and PDGFRA is once again strongly recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
Publication statusPublished - Apr 22 2020


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