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06-08-2013 | Oncology | Article

NSCLC BRAF gene mutation characterized in the clinic


Free abstract

medwireNews: Clinical characteristics do not distinguish between non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with and without BRAF mutations, report US scientists.

Analysis of data for 883 NSCLC patients, showed no significant difference in age, gender, race, or stage at diagnosis between the 4% of patients with a BRAF mutation and the 96% of patients without the marker.

Although the majority of BRAF mutations carriers were smokers, smoking history did not significantly differ from patients without a BRAF mutation. And tumor histology for BRAF carriers showed no predominant pattern, with 38% having solid growth and 29% acinar growth.

Moreover, there was no significant difference in overall survival or response to platinum-based combination chemotherapy between patients with and without BRAF mutations, report Stephanie Cardarella (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts) and co-authors.

However, the 18 patients with V600E BRAF activating mutations had shorter progression-free survival than the 18 patients with the non-V600E activating BRAF mutations, at 4.1 versus 8.9 months.

This difference did not reach statistical significance as the study’s power was too low due to small sample sizes. But the finding is in line with previous research suggesting V600E BRAF mutations may confer poorer outcomes than non-V600E mutations, the researchers report.

They add that their chemotherapy findings provide a “comparative basis for interpreting the results of ongoing trials of targeted therapy in patients with NSCLC and prospectively identified BRAF mutations.”

Noting that their study identified five novel BRAF mutations, the researchers believe that future cancer treatments targeted at BRAF mutations will need to be tailored according to whether the patient has a V600E or non-V600E activating variant or an inactivating BRAF mutation type.

“Various agents targeting the BRAF pathway are currently being tested in the clinic in patients with NSCLC and prospectively identified BRAF mutations,” Cardarella et al conclude in Clinical Cancer Research.

“If validated as a therapeutic target in NSCLC, BRAF may expand the potential candidates for personalized lung cancer therapy.”

medwireNews ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2013

By Lynda Williams, Senior medwireNews Reporter

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