Background The "HER2-low" nomenclature identifies breast carcinomas (BCs) displaying a HER2 score of 1+/2+ in immunohistochemistry and lacking ERBB2 amplification. Whether HER2-low BCs (HLBCs) constitute a distinct entity is debated. Methods We performed DNA and RNA high-throughput analysis on 99 HLBC samples (n = 34 cases with HER2 score 1+/HLBC-1, n = 15 cases with HER2 score 2+ and ERBB2 not amplified/HLBC-2N, and n = 50 cases with score 2+ and ERBB2 copy number in the equivocal range/HLBC-2E). We compared the mutation rates with data from 1317 samples in the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) BC cohort and gene expression data with those from an internal cohort of HER2-negative and HER2-positive BCs. Results The most represented mutations affected PIK3CA (31/99, 31%), GATA3 (18/99, 18%), TP53 (17/99, 17%), and ERBB2 (8/99, 8%, private to HLBC-2E). Tumor mutational burden was significantly higher in HLBC-1 compared to HLBC-2E/N (P = 0.04). Comparison of mutation spectra revealed that HLBCs were different from both HER2-negative and HER2-positive BCs, with HLBC-1 resembling more HER2-negative tumors and HLBC-2 mutationally related to HER2-addicted tumors. Potentially actionable alterations (annotated by using OncoKB/ESCAT classes) affected 52 patients. Intra-group gene expression revealed overlapping features between HLBC-1 and control HER2-negative BCs, whereas the HLBC-2E tumors showed the highest diversity overall. The RNA-based class discovery analysis unveiled four subsets of tumors with (i) lymphocyte activation, (ii) unique enrichment in HER2-related features, (iii) stromal remodeling alterations, and (iv) actionability of PIK3CA mutations (LAURA classification). Conclusions HLBCs harbor distinct genomic features when compared with HER2-positive and HER2-negative BCs; however, differences across IHC classes were also unveiled thus dissecting the full picture of heterogeneity across HER2-low disease. The HLBC-2E category harbors most distinctive features, whereas HLBC-1 seems superimposable to HER2-negative disease. Further studies are needed to ascertain whether the four genomic-driver classes of the LAURA classification hold prognostic and/or predictive implications.

Integrative genomic and transcriptomic analyses illuminate the ontology of HER2-low breast carcinomas

Berrino, Enrico
First
;
Annaratone, Laura;Bellomo, Sara Erika;Ferrero, Giulio;Gagliardi, Amedeo;Bragoni, Alberto;Grassini, Dora;Guarrera, Simonetta;Giordano, Silvia;Cereda, Matteo;Crosetto, Nicola;Sapino, Anna;Marchiò, Caterina
2022-01-01

Abstract

Background The "HER2-low" nomenclature identifies breast carcinomas (BCs) displaying a HER2 score of 1+/2+ in immunohistochemistry and lacking ERBB2 amplification. Whether HER2-low BCs (HLBCs) constitute a distinct entity is debated. Methods We performed DNA and RNA high-throughput analysis on 99 HLBC samples (n = 34 cases with HER2 score 1+/HLBC-1, n = 15 cases with HER2 score 2+ and ERBB2 not amplified/HLBC-2N, and n = 50 cases with score 2+ and ERBB2 copy number in the equivocal range/HLBC-2E). We compared the mutation rates with data from 1317 samples in the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) BC cohort and gene expression data with those from an internal cohort of HER2-negative and HER2-positive BCs. Results The most represented mutations affected PIK3CA (31/99, 31%), GATA3 (18/99, 18%), TP53 (17/99, 17%), and ERBB2 (8/99, 8%, private to HLBC-2E). Tumor mutational burden was significantly higher in HLBC-1 compared to HLBC-2E/N (P = 0.04). Comparison of mutation spectra revealed that HLBCs were different from both HER2-negative and HER2-positive BCs, with HLBC-1 resembling more HER2-negative tumors and HLBC-2 mutationally related to HER2-addicted tumors. Potentially actionable alterations (annotated by using OncoKB/ESCAT classes) affected 52 patients. Intra-group gene expression revealed overlapping features between HLBC-1 and control HER2-negative BCs, whereas the HLBC-2E tumors showed the highest diversity overall. The RNA-based class discovery analysis unveiled four subsets of tumors with (i) lymphocyte activation, (ii) unique enrichment in HER2-related features, (iii) stromal remodeling alterations, and (iv) actionability of PIK3CA mutations (LAURA classification). Conclusions HLBCs harbor distinct genomic features when compared with HER2-positive and HER2-negative BCs; however, differences across IHC classes were also unveiled thus dissecting the full picture of heterogeneity across HER2-low disease. The HLBC-2E category harbors most distinctive features, whereas HLBC-1 seems superimposable to HER2-negative disease. Further studies are needed to ascertain whether the four genomic-driver classes of the LAURA classification hold prognostic and/or predictive implications.
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Actionable alteration; Breast cancer; Classification; Gene expression; HER2; HER2-low; Heterogeneity; Mutation; Stratification; Transcriptome; Biomarkers, Tumor; Female; Gene Expression Profiling; Genomics; Humans; Mutation; RNA; Breast Neoplasms; Transcriptome
Berrino, Enrico; Annaratone, Laura; Bellomo, Sara Erika; Ferrero, Giulio; Gagliardi, Amedeo; Bragoni, Alberto; Grassini, Dora; Guarrera, Simonetta; Parlato, Caterina; Casorzo, Laura; Panero, Mara; Sarotto, Ivana; Giordano, Silvia; Cereda, Matteo; Montemurro, Filippo; Ponzone, Riccardo; Crosetto, Nicola; Naccarati, Alessio; Sapino, Anna; Marchiò, Caterina
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1875621
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