Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research

Oncogenic ALK Fusion in Rare and Aggressive Subtype of Colorectal Adenocarcinoma as a Potential Therapeutic Target.

PMID 26933125


Chromosomal translocations in the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene have been identified as oncogenic drivers in lung adenocarcinomas and other tumors, recently including rare cases of colorectal carcinoma. We identified a patient with refractory metastatic colorectal carcinoma harboring a STRN-ALK gene fusion who achieved an exceptional clinical benefit to the ALK inhibitor ceritinib. Our goal was to further define the clinicopathologic features of ALK-rearranged colorectal carcinoma in a large cohort. Clinical cases of colorectal carcinoma evaluated by comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP) or by ALK immunohistochemistry (IHC) were reviewed retrospectively. FISH and microsatellite instability (MSI) analyses were performed. Nine colorectal carcinoma cases harbored ALK gene fusions. Six cases were identified by CGP of 3,157 colorectal carcinoma (0.2%) and three by IHC of 2,980 colorectal carcinoma (0.1%). The ALK fusions involved known ALK partners EML4, C2orf44, CAD, and the novel STRN, PPP1R21, SENPF, MAPRE3, and PRKAP1B partners. These advanced-stage colorectal carcinomas lacked mutations in other oncogenic drivers, predominantly involved the proximal colon, and often exhibited MSI and mucinous phenotype. The index patient was treated with the ALK inhibitor ceritinib, resulting in a marked decrease in size of a skin metastasis, and resolution by computerized tomography of all contrast enhancing tumor. After 9 months of treatment, biopsy of progressive disease demonstrated a KRAS mutation, consistent with acquired resistance to ceritinib. Colorectal carcinoma harboring ALK fusions represent a rare aggressive subtype of colorectal carcinoma with distinct clinicopathologic features. This report provides the first clinical evidence that such patients may benefit from targeted monotherapy with ALK inhibitors. Clin Cancer Res; 22(15); 3831-40. ©2016 AACR.