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  • 1
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: The reliable identification of non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) with chromosomal breaks in the gene of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) is crucial for the induction of therapy with ALK-inhibitors. In order to ensure a reliable detection of ALK-breaks by means of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) testing, round robin tests are essential. In preparation of a nation (German)-wide round robin test we initiated a pre-testing phase involving 8 experts in FISH-diagnostics to identify NSCLC cases (n = 10) with a pre-tested ALK-status. In addition, ALK immunohistochemistry (IHC) was performed to assess ALK protein expression. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Sections derived from a tissue microarray, each consisting of 3 cores from 10 NSCLC cases, were independently tested for ALK protein expression by IHC and genomic ALK-breaks by FISH involving 8 institutes of pathology. Based on a pre-screening, 5 cases were identified to be clearly ALK-break negative, whereas the remaining 5 cases were ALK-break positive including one case with low percentage (20%) of positive cells. The latter had been additionally tested by RT-PCR. RESULTS: The 5 unequivocal ALK-break negative NSCLC were almost consistently scored negative by means of FISH and IHC by all 8 experts. Interestingly, 4 of the 5 cases with pre-defined ALK-breaks revealed homogenous FISH results whereas IHC for the detection of ALK protein expression showed heterogeneous results. The remaining case (low number of ALK-break positive cells) was scored negative by 3 experts and positive by the other 5. RT-PCR revealed the expression of an EML4-ALK fusion gene variant 1. CONCLUSION: ALK-break negative NSCLC cases revealed concordant homogeneous results by means of FISH and IHC (score 0-1) by all 8 experts. Discordant FISH results were raised in one ALK-break positive case with a low number of affected tumor cells. The remaining 4 ALK-break positive cases revealed concordant FISH data whereas the ALK-IHC revealed very diverse results. The cases with concordant FISH results provide an excellent basis for round robin ALK-FISH testing. As long as standardized ALK-IHC protocols are missing, ALK protein expression cannot by regarded as the method of choice for identification of patients eligible for treatment with ALK inhibitors.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23669200
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  • 2
    Abstract: T lymphocytes against tumor-specific mutated neoantigens can induce tumor regression. Also, the size of the immunogenic cancer mutanome is supposed to correlate with the clinical efficacy of checkpoint inhibition. Herein, we studied the susceptibility of tumor cell lines from lymph node metastases occurring in a melanoma patient over several years towards blood-derived, neoantigen-specific CD8+ T cells. In contrast to a cell line established during early stage III disease, all cell lines generated at later time points from stage IV metastases exhibited partial or complete loss of HLA class I expression. Whole exome and transcriptome sequencing of the four tumor lines and a germline control were applied to identify expressed somatic single nucleotide substitutions (SNS), insertions and deletions (indels). Candidate peptides encoded by these variants and predicted to bind to the patient's HLA class I alleles were synthesized and tested for recognition by autologous mixed lymphocyte-tumor cell cultures (MLTCs). Peptides from four mutated proteins, HERPUD1G161S, INSIG1S238F, MMS22LS437F and PRDM10S1050F, were recognized by MLTC responders and MLTC-derived T cell clones restricted by HLA-A*24:02 or HLA-B*15:01. Intracellular peptide processing was verified with transfectants. All four neoantigens could only be targeted on the cell line generated during early stage III disease. HLA loss variants of any kind were uniformly resistant. These findings corroborate that, although neoantigens represent attractive therapeutic targets, they also contribute to the process of cancer immunoediting as a serious limitation to specific T cell immunotherapy.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28423700
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