Anaplastic lymphoma kinase tyrosine kinase inhibitors (ALK-TKIs) are the standard treatment for advanced ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) allowing survivals up to 5 years. However, duration of responses is limited by the almost certain occurrence of drug resistance. Here, we report a case of a never smoker, 59-year-old female with metastatic ALK-positive adenocarcinoma, solid and signet ring patterns, who developed resistance to alectinib, a second-generation ALK-TKI, mediated by HER2 gene amplification. The patient received 22 months of crizotinib as first-line and subsequently 1-year of alectinib therapy. A study of resistance mechanism was performed with next generation sequencing (NGS) on tissue re-biopsy. A HER2-amplified emerging clone was identified by NGS in a liver metastasis and confirmed by fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis. The resistant clone was detectable 2 months before disease progression in plasma cell-free DNA (cfDNA) using digital droplet PCR (ddPCR) copy number variation (CNV) assay and it was retrospectively traced in rare cells of the lung primary by FISH. To our best knowledge, this is first evidence of HER2 gene amplification as a resistance mechanism to ALK-TKI in a NSCLC. Future strategies against oncogene-addicted NSCLC might benefit of combined drug treatments, such as ALK and HER2 inhibition.
Emergence of a HER2-amplified clone during disease progression in an ALK-rearranged NSCLC patient treated with ALK-inhibitors: A case report / Minari, R.; Gnetti, L.; Lagrasta, C. A.; Squadrilli, A.; Bordi, P.; Azzoni, C.; Bottarelli, L.; Cosenza, A.; Ferri, L.; Caruso, G.; Silini, E. M.; Tiseo, M.. - In: TRANSLATIONAL LUNG CANCER RESEARCH. - ISSN 2218-6751. - 9:3(2020), pp. 787-792. [10.21037/tlcr.2020.04.03]
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