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Clinical cancer research


PURPOSE: Invasive mucinous adenocarcinoma (IMA) is a unique subtype of lung adenocarcinoma, characterized genomically by frequent KRAS mutations or specific gene fusions, most commonly involving NRG1. Comprehensive analysis of a large series of IMAs using broad DNA- and RNA-sequencing methods is still lacking, and it remains unclear whether molecular subtypes of IMA differ clinicopathologically.

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: A total of 200 IMAs were analyzed by 410-gene DNA next-generation sequencing (MSK-IMPACT; n = 136) or hotspot 8-oncogene genotyping (n = 64). Driver-negative cases were further analyzed by 62-gene RNA sequencing (MSK-Fusion) and those lacking fusions were further tested by whole-exome sequencing and whole-transcriptome sequencing (WTS).

RESULTS: Combined MSK-IMPACT and MSK-Fusion testing identified mutually exclusive driver alterations in 96% of IMAs, including KRAS mutations (76%), NRG1 fusions (7%), ERBB2 alterations (6%), and other less common events. In addition, WTS identified a novel NRG2 fusion (F11R-NRG2). Overall, targetable gene fusions were identified in 51% of KRAS wild-type IMAs, leading to durable responses to targeted therapy in some patients. Compared with KRAS-mutant IMAs, NRG1-rearranged tumors exhibited several more aggressive characteristics, including worse recurrence-free survival (P < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS: This is the largest molecular study of IMAs to date, where we demonstrate the presence of a major oncogenic driver in nearly all cases. This study is the first to document more aggressive characteristics of NRG1-rearranged IMAs, ERBB2 as the third most common alteration, and a novel NRG2 fusion in these tumors. Comprehensive molecular testing of KRAS wild-type IMAs that includes fusion testing is essential, given the high prevalence of alterations with established and investigational targeted therapies in this subset.

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ePub ahead of print