Next-generation sequencing (NGS) can facilitate precision medicine approaches in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients. We investigated the molecular profiling of Korean mCRC patients under the K-MASTER project which was initiated in June 2017 as a nationwide precision medicine oncology clinical trial platform which used NGS assay to screen actionable mutations.
As of 22 January 2020, total of 994 mCRC patients were registered in K-MASTER project. Targeted sequencing was performed using three platforms which were composed of the K-MASTER cancer panel v1.1 and the SNUH FIRST Cancer Panel v3.01. If tumor tissue was not available, cell-free DNA was extracted and the targeted sequencing was performed by Axen Cancer Panel as a liquid biopsy.
In 994 mCRC patients, we found 1,564 clinically meaningful pathogenic variants which mutated in 71 genes. Anti-EGFR therapy candidates were 467 patients (47.0%) and BRAF V600E mutation (n=47, 4.7%), deficient mismatch repair/microsatellite instability-high (n=15, 1.5%), HER2 amplifications (n=10, 1.0%) could be incorporated with recently approved drugs. The patients with high tumor mutation burden (n=101, 12.7%) and DNA damaging response and repair defect (n=42, 4.2%) could be enrolled clinical trials with immune checkpoint inhibitors. There were more CRC molecular alterations such as PIK3CA, KRAS G12C, atypical BRAF, and HER2 mutations and even rarer but actionable genes that approved or ongoing clinical trials in other solid tumors.
K-MASTER project provides an intriguing background to investigate new clinical trials with biomarkers and give therapeutic opportunity for mCRC patients.