Pluto Bioinformatics

GSE121411: Acquired HER2 mutations in ER+ metastatic breast cancer confer resistance to ER-directed therapies

Bulk RNA sequencing

Estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancers that develop resistance to therapies that target the ER are the most common cause of breast cancer death. Beyond mutations in ER, which occur in 25-30% of patients treated with aromatase inhibitors (AIs), our understanding of clinical mechanisms of resistance to ER-directed therapies remains incomplete. We identified activating HER2 mutations in metastatic biopsies from eight patients with ER+ metastatic breast cancer who had developed resistance to ER-directed agents, including AIs, tamoxifen, and fulvestrant. Examination of treatment-nave primary tumors in five patients revealed no evidence of pre-existing mutations in four of five patients, suggesting that these mutations were acquired under the selective pressure of ER-directed therapy. These mutations were mutually exclusive with ERmutations, suggesting a distinct mechanism of acquired resistance to ER-directed therapies.In vitroanalysis confirmed that these mutations conferred estrogen independence. In addition, and in contrast to ER mutations, these mutations resulted in resistance to tamoxifen, fulvestrant, and the CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib. Resistance was overcome by combining ER-directed therapy with the irreversible HER2 kinase inhibitor neratinib, highlighting an effective treatment strategy in these patients. SOURCE: Ofir Cohen ( - Broad Institute

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