Non-small cell lung cancer is a major killer world-wide. While some lung adenocarcinomas have mutations qualifying for targeted therapy, this is not the case for the squamous cell carcinomas (SqCC). TP53 mutations exist in around 85% of squamous cell carcinomas, but the mutations are difficult to target directly. We explore the biology of TP53 mutated SqCC and search for putative targets for therapy.
Patients undergoing surgery for squamous cell lung carcinoma from 2006 to 2015 were included in the study (n = 198). Tumours were analysed using Illumina SNP6 for copy number alterations and Agilent 60K arrays for gene expression. TP53 mutations were analysed by Sanger sequencing. For 140 patients both gene expression and copy number data were available.
Frequency plots for tumours harbouring TP53 mutations and TP53 wild type tumours were generated separately identifying genomic regions with differential frequency of copy number alterations. TP53 mutations are more frequent in the previously published gene expression subtypes Classical and Primitive compared with Basal and Secretory, but this does not seem to affect survival. Amplifications are particularly frequent in the Classical subtype. Target gene search was performed, identifying 148 genes with amplification and over-expression in TP53 mutated tumours compared with wild type tumours. Several of these putative target genes are previously studied as putative targets of therapy. The majority of the putative target genes are located on the chromosomal arms 2p for samples of the Secretory subtype, 2q for samples of the Primitive subtype and on 12p and 17q for samples of the Classical subtype.
There are distinct copy number alterations and gene expression patterns in TP53 mutated squamous cell lung cancers that can be used to identify novel targets of therapy.
Clinical trial identification
Legal entity responsible for the study
Oslo University Hospital.
The Norwegian Cancer Society, South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority.
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.