Tumor heterogeneity and Lesion-Specific response to targeted therapy in colorectal cancer

Mariangela Russo, Giulia Siravegna, Lawrence S. Blaszkowsky, Giorgio Corti, Giovanni Crisafulli, Leanne G. Ahronian, Benedetta Mussolin, Eunice L. Kwak, Michela Buscarino, Luca Lazzari, Emanuele Valtorta, Mauro Truini, Nicholas A. Jessop, Hayley E. Robinson, Theodore S. Hong, Mari Mino-Kenudson, Federica Di Nicolantonio, Ashraf Thabet, Andrea Sartore-Bianchi, Salvatore SienaJohn Iafrate, Alberto Bardelli, Ryan B. Corcoran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How genomic heterogeneity associated with acquired resistance to targeted agents affects response to subsequent therapy is unknown. We studied EGFR blockade in colorectal cancer to assess whether tissue and liquid biopsies can be integrated with radiologic imaging to monitor the impact of individual oncogenic alterations on lesion-specific responses. Biopsy of a patient’s progressing liver metastasis following prolonged response to cetuximab revealed a MEK1 K57T mutation as a novel mechanism of acquired resistance. This lesion regressed upon treatment with panitumumab and the MEK inhibitor trametinib. In circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA), mutant MEK1 levels declined with treatment, but a previously unrecognized KRAS Q61H mutation was also identified that increased despite therapy. This same KRAS mutation was later found in a separate nonresponding metastasis. In summary, parallel analyses of tumor biopsies and serial ctDNA monitoring show that lesion-specific radiographic responses to subsequent targeted therapies can be driven by distinct resistance mechanisms arising within separate tumor lesions in the same patient. SIGNIFICANCE: Molecular heterogeneity ensuing from acquired resistance drives lesion-specifi c responses to subsequent targeted therapies. Analysis of a single-lesion biopsy is inadequate to guide selection of subsequent targeted therapies. ctDNA profi les allow the detection of concomitant resistance mechanisms residing in separate metastases and assessment of the effect of therapies designed to overcome resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-153
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Discovery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Tumor heterogeneity and Lesion-Specific response to targeted therapy in colorectal cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this