Novel V600E BRAF mutations in imatinib-naive and imatinib-resistant gastrointestinal stromal tumors
Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors
Protein Kinase Inhibitors
Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf
BRAF and NRAS are commonly mutated in cancer and represent the most frequent genetic events in malignant melanoma. More recently, a subset of melanomas was shown to overexpress KIT and harbor KIT mutations. Although most gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) exhibit activating mutations in either KIT or PDGFRA, about 10% of the cases lack mutations in these genes. It is our hypothesis following the melanoma model that mutations in BRAF or NRAS may play a role in wild-type GIST pathogenesis. Alterations in RAS/MEK/ERK pathway may also be involved in development of imatinib resistance in GIST, particularly in tumors lacking secondary KIT or PDGFRA mutations. Imatinib-naive wild-type GISTs from 61 patients, including 15 children and 28 imatinib-resistant tumors without secondary KIT mutations were analyzed. Screening for hot spots mutations in BRAF (exons 11 and 15) and NRAS (exons 2 and 3) was performed. A BRAF exon 15 V600E was identified in 3 of 61 GIST patients, who shared similar clinical features, being 49- to 55-years-old females and having their tumors located in the small bowel. The tumors were strongly KIT immunoreactive and had a high risk of malignancy. An identical V600E BRAF mutation was also identified in one of 28 imatinib resistant GIST lacking a defined mechanism of drug resistance. In conclusion, we identified a primary BRAF V600E mutations in 7% of adult GIST patients, lacking KIT/PDGFRA mutations. The BRAF-mutated GISTs show predilection for small bowel location and high risk of malignancy. A secondary V600E BRAF mutation could represent an alternative mechanism of imatinib resistance. Kinase inhibitors targeting BRAF may be effective therapeutic options in this molecular GIST subset.