NantHealth Announces Research Results that Advances Understanding of Tumor Treatment Resistance
Study Published in JCI Insight sheds light on the importance of using both transcriptomics and genomics for patient tumor interrogation to gain actionable insight
Next-generation sequencing (NGS) of DNA has not revealed all the mechanisms underlying resistance to genomically matched drugs. This study was designed to discover another potential mechanism. Researchers evaluated data from 1,417 tumors whole-exome tumor (somatic)/normal (germline) NGS and whole-transcriptome sequencing in order to examine transcriptomic silencing of putative driver alterations. Drivers are significant in this context, compared to passenger mutations, which are not linked to targeted drug therapies. Thus the data is particularly clinically relevant because it pertains to mutations that are commonly used to prescribe drug therapies. In this large-scale study, they also determined the frequency of tumor mutations being germline, rather than somatic, in these and an additional 462 tumors with tumor and normal exomes. They found there was a high risk of germline mutations being falsely reported as somatic. In that event, clinicians may prescribe a treatment that would actually target the normal healthy germline cells in addition to tumor cells and result in greater toxicity. In examination of a set of 50 genes highly associated with cancer and targeted therapies, at least 13% of variants detected in DNA were unexpectedly not expressed.
The research confirmed that both the frequency of silenced variant transcription and the risk of falsely identifying germline mutations as somatic are important. Therefore, transcriptomics is critical in conjunction with genomics when interrogating patient tumors for actionable alterations, and to ultimately reduce the risk of therapeutic resistance.
“Exploring another mechanism of resistance to therapy and thus helping bring about a deeper understanding around the interrogation of patients’ tumors brings with it hope and excitement for the success of future therapeutics,” said
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