Targeted-gene sequencing to catch triple negative breast cancer heterogeneity before and after neoadjuvant chemotherapy

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Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients not attaining pathological Complete Response (pCR) after neo-adjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) have poor prognosis. We characterized 19 patients for somatic mutations in primary tumor biopsy and residual disease (RD) at surgery by 409 cancer-related gene sequencing (IonAmpliSeqTM Comprehensive Cancer Panel). A median of four (range 1–66) genes was mutated in each primary tumor biopsy, and the most common mutated gene was TP53 followed by a long tail of low frequency mutations. There were no recurrent mutations significantly associated with pCR. However, half of patients with RD had primary tumor biopsy with mutations in genes related to the immune system compared with none of those achieving pCR. Overall, the number of mutations showed a downward trend in post-as compared to pre-NAC samples. PIK3CA was the most common altered gene after NAC. The mutational profile of TNBC during treatment as inferred from patterns of mutant allele frequencies in matched pre-and post-NAC samples showed that RD harbored alterations of cell cycle progression, PI3K/Akt/mTOR, and EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor-resistance pathways. Our findings support the use of targeted-gene sequencing for TNBC therapeutic development, as patients without pCR may present mutations of immune-related pathways in their primary tumor biopsy, or actionable targets in the RD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1753
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • Biopsies
  • Cancer therapy
  • Heterogeneity
  • Neo-adjuvant chemotherapy
  • Somatic mutations
  • Targeted-gene sequencing
  • Triple negative breast cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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