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Poster Display session 3

5259 - Integrative RNAseq and Target panel sequencing reveals common and distinct innate and adaptive resistance mechanisms to BRAF inhibitors


30 Sep 2019


Poster Display session 3


Tumour Site

Skin Cancers


Phil Cheng


Annals of Oncology (2019) 30 (suppl_5): v533-v563. 10.1093/annonc/mdz255


P.F. Cheng1, S.N. Freiberger2, C. Panetti1, A. Irmisch1, R. Dummer1, M.P. Levesque1

Author affiliations

  • 1 Dermatology, Universitätsspital Zürich - Klinik für Dermatologie, 8091 - Zurich/CH
  • 2 Pathology, University Hospital Zurich, 8091 - Zurich/CH


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Abstract 5259


Targeted therapy in melanoma has been a great success in extending progression free survival and overall survival for melanoma patients. These include BRAF inhibitors for patients with a BRAF V600 mutation and MEK inhibitors for patients with an NRAS G12 or Q61 mutation. However, only about 50 % of patients respond to single BRAF inhibitor therapy and about 70% respond to combination BRAF and MEK inhibitor therapy.


We in vitro tested each cell line for resistance to BRAF inhibitor and found 27 to be resistant. To elucidate the possible resistance mechanisms, we performed RNAseq and targeted panel sequencing on all 53 cultures and found specific subgroups of gene expression and mutations that define the innate and adaptive resistance populations.


Surprisingly, a few melanoma cultures from patients who have never been exposed to BRAF inhibitors had innate resistance, while the majority of cell cultures from progressive patients were resistant to in vitro BRAF inhibition. . One surprising finding was that the phenotype switching signature was one of the resistant mechanisms in common for innate and adaptive resistance, suggesting a selection process for resistant cells during therapy. We also found mechanisms of resistance specific for adaptive resistance, there were many samples that gain mutations in NRAS or acquired a splicing event in BRAF that was not seen in the untreated tumor suggesting a de novo mechanism to resistance.


Overall, we noticed several mechanisms to innate and adaptive resistance which highlights tumor and patient heterogeneity when treated with BRAF inhibitors and reinforces the concept for precision medicine in the treatment of melanoma.

Clinical trial identification

Editorial acknowledgement

Legal entity responsible for the study

The authors.


EU Horizon 2020 PHC grant No. 633974 (SOUND – Statistical multi-Omics UNDerstanding of Patient Samples).


R. Dummer: Honoraria (self): Novartis; Honoraria (self): Merck Sharp & Dhome; Honoraria (self): Bristol-Myers Squibb; Honoraria (self): Roche; Honoraria (self): Amgen; Honoraria (self): Takeda; Honoraria (self): Pierre Fabre; Honoraria (self): Sun Pharma; Honoraria (self): Sanofi. All other authors have declared no conflicts of interest.

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