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Mutually exclusive FGFR2, HER2, and KRAS gene amplifications in gastric cancer revealed by multicolour FISH

Cancer Letters
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.canlet.2014.07.021
  • Multicolour Fish
  • Gastric Cancer
  • Gene Amplification
  • Kras
  • Fgfr2
  • Her2
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine


Abstract Gastric cancer (GC) is a major cause of global cancer mortality. Previous genomic studies have reported that several RTK-RAS pathway components are amplified in GC, with individual tumours often amplifying one component and not others (“mutual exclusivity”). Here, we sought to validate these findings for three RTK/RAS components (FGFR2, HER2, KRAS) using fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) on a series of gastric tumours, cell lines and patient-derived xenografts. Applying dual-colour FISH on 137 gastric tumours (89 FFPE surgical resections and 48 diagnostic biopsies), we observed FGFR2 amplification in 7.3% and HER2 amplification in 2.2% of GCs. GCs exhibiting FGFR2 amplification were associated with high tumour grade (p = 0.034). In FISH positive tumours, striking differences in copy number levels between cancer cells in the same tumour were observed, suggesting intra-tumour heterogeneity. Using a multicolour FISH assay allowing simultaneous detection of FGFR2, HER2, and KRAS amplifications, we confirmed that these components exhibited a mutually exclusive pattern of gene amplification across patients. The FISH data were also strongly correlated with Q-PCR levels and at the protein level by immunohistochemistry. Our data confirm that RTK/RAS components are mutually exclusively amplified in GC, and demonstrate the feasibility of identifying multiple aneuploidies using a single FISH assay. Application of this assay to GC samples, particularly diagnostic biopsies, may facilitate enrollment of GC patients into clinical trials evaluating RTK/RAS directed therapies. However, the presence of intra-tumour heterogeneity may require multiple biopsy samples to be obtained per patient before a definitive diagnosis can be attained.

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