Expanding the Molecular Characterization of Thoracic Inflammatory Myofibroblastic Tumors beyond ALK Gene Rearrangements Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Drug Eruptions
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Neoplasms


  • © 2018 International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer Introduction: Half of inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors (IMTs) regardless of anatomic location harbor anaplastic lymphoma kinase gene (ALK) rearrangements and overexpress anaplastic lymphoma kinase protein. The wide application of next-generation sequencing and the clinical benefit to tyrosine kinase inhibitors have opened new opportunities for investigation of ALK-negative IMTs. Methods: In this study, we have investigated a series of pediatric and adult thoracic IMTs for abnormalities in a wide spectrum of actionable kinases by applying a variety of molecular and next-generation sequencing techniques, including fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), targeted RNA sequencing, and NanoString assay. Results: There were 33 patients with thoracic IMTs, including five children; their mean age was 37. The tumors showed a monomorphic spindle cell phenotype, except for one with an epithelioid morphologic pattern and moderate to severe atypia. By immunohistochemistry, 24 tumors were ALK positive, and 19 of the 24 showed ALK rearrangements and one ret proto-oncogene gene (RET) rearrangement by FISH. RNA sequencing was performed in the remaining four cases lacking ALK abnormalities by FISH, revealing ALK fusions involving tropomyosin 4 gene (TMP4) and echinoderm microtubule associated protein like 4 gene (EML4) as partner in three cases. NanoString assay was performed in the remaining case, revealing ALK alternative transcription initiation (ALKATI). Nine cases lacking ALK abnormalities were further tested by FISH or targeted RNA sequencing, revealing ROS1 rearrangement in six cases and ETS variant 6 gene (ETV6)–neurotrophic receptor tyrosine kinase 3 gene (NTRK3) fusion in three cases, respectively. Conclusions: By using a battery of complementary molecular techniques, we have shown that all the thoracic IMTs harbored a tyrosine kinase abnormality, with 30% involving a kinase gene other than ALK, including ROS1, NTRK3, and RET gene fusions. We have also described for the first time ALKATI-induced ALK oncogenic activation in IMTs.

publication date

  • January 2019



  • In Process


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jtho.2018.12.003

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