Transcriptional Reprogramming Differentiates Active from Inactive ESR1 Fusions in Endocrine Therapy-Refractory Metastatic Breast Cancer

Xuxu Gou, Meenakshi Anurag, Jonathan T. Lei, Beom Jun Kim, Purba Singh, Sinem Seker, Diana Fandino, Airi Han, Saif Rehman, Jianhong Hu, Viktoriya Korchina, Harshavardhan Doddapaneni, Lacey E. Dobrolecki, Nicholas Mitsiades, Michael T. Lewis, Alana L. Welm, Shunqiang Li, Adrian V. Lee, Dan R. Robinson, Charles E. FouldsMatthew J. Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Genomic analysis has recently identified multiple ESR1 gene translocations in estrogen receptor alpha–positive (ERαþ) metastatic breast cancer (MBC) that encode chimeric proteins whereby the ESR1 ligand binding domain (LBD) is replaced by C-terminal sequences from many different gene partners. Here we functionally screened 15 ESR1 fusions and identified 10 that promoted estradiol-independent cell growth, motility, invasion, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, and resistance to fulvestrant. RNA sequencing identified a gene expression pattern specific to functionally active ESR1 gene fusions that was subsequently reduced to a diagnostic 24-gene signature. This signature was further examined in 20 ERαþ patient-derived xenografts and in 55 ERαþ MBC samples. The 24-gene signature successfully identified cases harboring ESR1 gene fusions and also accurately diagnosed the presence of activating ESR1 LBD point mutations. Therefore, the 24-gene signature represents an efficient approach to screening samples for the presence of diverse somatic ESR1 mutations and translocations that drive endocrine treatment failure in MBC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6259-6272
Number of pages14
JournalCancer research
Volume81
Issue number24
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 2021

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