TERT Promoter Mutations Differently Correlate with the Clinical Outcome of MAPK Inhibitor-Treated Melanoma Patients

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Abstract

Resistance is a major challenge in the management of mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitor (MAPKi)-treated metastatic melanoma. Tumor genetic alterations can cause MAPK pathway reactivation, leading to lack of response and poor outcome. Characterization of the mutational profile in patients with melanoma might be crucial for patient-tailored treatment choices. Mutations in the promoter region of the telomerase reverse transcriptase gene (TERTprom) lead to increased TERT expression and telomerase activity and are frequent in BRAFV600 mutant melanoma. Reportedly, TERTprom, and BRAFV600 mutations cooperate in driving cancer progression and aggressiveness. We evaluated the effect of the TERTprom status on the clinical outcome in 97 MAPKi-treated melanoma patients. We observed that patients with the c.-146C > T mutation showed a significantly worse progression-free survival (PFS) compared to those carrying the c.-124C > T mutation and a two-fold increased risk of progression (median 5.4 vs. 9.5 months; hazard ratio (HR) 1.9; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.2-3.2; p = 0.013). This trend was also observed for the overall survival (OS); melanoma patients with the c.-146C > T mutation showed a poorer prognosis compared to those with the c.-124C > T mutation (median 13.3 vs. 25.5 months; HR 1.9, 95% CI 1.1-3.3, p = 0.023). Our results disclose a different correlation of the two TERTprom mutations with MAPKi-treated melanoma patient outcome, highlighting a different impact of the pathway blockade.

Original languageEnglish
Article number946
Number of pages11
JournalCancers
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 11 2020

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