Serial single-cell genomics reveals convergent subclonal evolution of resistance as patients with early-stage breast cancer progress on endocrine plus CDK4/6 therapy

Jason I. Griffiths, Jinfeng Chen, Patrick A. Cosgrove, Anne O’Dea, Priyanka Sharma, Cynthia Ma, Meghna Trivedi, Kevin Kalinsky, Kari B. Wisinski, Ruth O’Regan, Issam Makhoul, Laura M. Spring, Aditya Bardia, Frederick R. Adler, Adam L. Cohen, Jeffrey T. Chang, Qamar J. Khan, Andrea H. Bild

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Combining cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitors with endocrine therapy improves outcomes for patients with metastatic estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer but its value in earlier-stage patients is unclear. We examined evolutionary trajectories of early-stage breast cancer tumors, using single-cell RNA sequencing of serial biopsies from the FELINE clinical trial of endocrine therapy (letrozole) alone or combined with the CDK inhibitor ribociclib. Despite differences in subclonal diversity evolution across patients and treatments, common resistance phenotypes emerged. Resistant tumors treated with combination therapy showed accelerated loss of estrogen signaling with convergent upregulation of JNK signaling through growth factor receptors. In contrast, cancer cells maintaining estrogen signaling during mono- or combination therapy showed potentiation of CDK4/6 activation and ERK upregulation through ERBB4 signaling. These results indicate that combination therapy in early-stage estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer leads to emergence of resistance through a shift from estrogen to alternative growth signal-mediated proliferation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)658-671
Number of pages14
JournalNature Cancer
Volume2
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021

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