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Purpose: Current first-line chemotherapy for patients with metastatic adrenocortical cancer (ACC) includes doxorubicin, etoposide, cisplatin, and mitotane with a reported response rate of only 23.2%. New therapeutic leads for patients with refractory tumors are needed; there is no standard second-line treatment.
Methods: Samples from 135 ACC tumors were analyzed by immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization (FISH or CISH), and/or gene sequencing at a single commercial reference laboratory (Caris Life Sciences) to identify markers associated with drug sensitivity and resistance.
Results: Overexpression of proteins related to demonstrated chemotherapy sensitivity or resistance included topoisomerase 1, progesterone receptor, and topoisomerase 2-alpha in 46%, 63%, and 42% of cases, respectively. Loss of excision repair cross-complementary group 1 (ERCC1), phosophatase and tensin homolog, O(6)-methylguanine-methyltransferase, and ribonucleotide reductase M1 (RRM1) was identified in 56%, 59%, 71%, and 58% of cases, respectively. Other aberrations included overexpression of programmed death-ligand 1 or programmed cell death protein 1 tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in >40% of cases. In all, 35% of cases had a mutation in the canonical Wnt signaling pathway (either CTNNB1 or APC) and 48% had a mutation in TP53. No other genomic alterations were identified.
Conclusion: Biomarker alterations in ACC may be used to direct therapies, including recommendations for and potential resistance of some patients to traditional chemotherapies, which may explain the low response rate in the unselected population. Limited outcomes data support the use of mitotane and platinum therapies for patients with low levels of the proteins RRM1 and ERCC1.
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