PHILADELPHIA Novel abnormalities in the FGFR gene, called FGFR fusions, were identified in a spectrum of cancers, and preliminary results with cancer cells harboring FGFR fusions suggested that some patients with these cancers may benefit from treatment with FGFR inhibitor drugs, according to data published in Cancer Discovery, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
FGFR genes are receptors that bind to members of the fibroblast growth factor family of proteins and play a role in key biological processes of a human cell. Because of a chromosomal abnormality, this gene sometimes fuses with another gene and forms a hybrid, or a gene fusion, resulting in a gene product with an entirely different function, causing cancers.
"We found targetable FGFR gene fusions across a diverse array of cancer types. Although rare for any individual cancer type, if found in an individual patient, these fusions are likely a major driver of that patient's cancer," said Arul M. Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. "We were surprised to find so many different FGFR fusions in so many different cancers.
"This study demonstrates the benefit of broad-based sequencing efforts in personalized oncology. It has the potential to identify novel, rare mutations that are 'actionable' therapeutic targets," Chinnaiyan added. "Such advances in sequencing technology facilitate rational precision therapies for individuals with late-stage cancer."
The Michigan Oncology Sequencing Program (MI-ONCOSEQ) facilitates integrative sequencing analysis of tumors from patients with advanced cancers. More than 100 patients have been enrolled since 2011. Through the project, researchers analyze the mutational landscape of each patient's tumor and suggest clinical trials or approved drugs that might be appropriate for that patient, according to Chinnaiyan.
|Contact: Jeremy Moore|
American Association for Cancer Research