Therapeutic Implications of Germline Testing in Patients With Advanced Cancers

J Clin Oncol. 2021 Jun 16:JCO2003661. doi: 10.1200/JCO.20.03661. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: Tumor mutational profiling is increasingly performed in patients with advanced cancer. We determined the extent to which germline mutation profiling guides therapy selection in patients with advanced cancer.

METHODS: Patients with cancer undergoing tumor genomic profiling were prospectively consented for germline cancer predisposition gene analysis (2015-2019). In patients harboring germline likely pathogenic or pathogenic (LP/P) alterations, therapeutic actionability was classified using a precision oncology knowledge base. Patients with metastatic or recurrent cancer receiving germline genotype-directed therapy were determined.

RESULTS: Among 11,947 patients across > 50 malignancies, 17% (n = 2,037) harbored a germline LP/P variant. By oncology knowledge base classification, 9% (n = 1042) had an LP/P variant in a gene with therapeutic implications (4% level 1; 4% level 3B; < 1% level 4). BRCA1/2 variants accounted for 42% of therapeutically actionable findings, followed by CHEK2 (13%), ATM (12%), mismatch repair genes (11%), and PALB2 (5%). When limited to the 9,079 patients with metastatic or recurrent cancer, 8% (n = 710) harbored level 1 or 3B genetic findings and 3.2% (n = 289) received germline genotype-directed therapy. Germline genotype-directed therapy was received by 61% and 18% of metastatic cancer patients with level 1 and level 3B findings, respectively, and by 54% of BRCA1/2, 75% of mismatch repair, 43% of PALB2, 35% of RAD51C/D, 24% of BRIP1, and 19% of ATM carriers. Of BRCA1/2 patients receiving a poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor, 45% (84 of 188) had tumors other than breast or ovarian cancer, wherein the drug, at time of delivery, was delivered in an investigational setting.

CONCLUSION: In a pan-cancer analysis, 8% of patients with advanced cancer harbored a germline variant with therapeutic actionability with 40% of these patients receiving germline genotype-directed treatment. Germline sequence analysis is additive to tumor sequence analysis for therapy selection and should be considered for all patients with advanced cancer.

PMID:34133209 | DOI:10.1200/JCO.20.03661