Molecular characterization of pulmonary sarcomatoid carcinoma: Analysis of 33 cases

Simone B.S.P. Terra, Jin S. Jang, Lintao Bi, Benjamin R. Kipp, Jin Jen, Eunhee S. Yi, Jennifer M. Boland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Several targetable genetic alterations have been found in lung cancer, predominantly in adenocarcinomas, which have led to important therapeutic advancements with the advent of targeted therapy. In contrast, the molecular features and presence of targetable genetic abnormalities in pulmonary sarcomatoid carcinomas are largely unknown. Thirty-three cases of pulmonary sarcomatoid carcinoma were tested for approximately 2800 mutations in 50 oncogenes and tumor-suppressor genes, including EGFR, KRAS, NRAS, TP53, BRAF, ERBB2, JAK3, AKT1, ATM, MET, KIT, and PIK3CA. ALK immunostaining was performed, and ALK FISH was performed on cases with any degree of staining. Twenty-four of the 33 cases (72%) had at least one genetic abnormality: 19 cases (58%) had TP53 mutations; 10 cases (30%) had KRAS mutations; AKT1, JAK3, BRAF, NRAS, and PIK3CA mutations were observed in 1 case each (3%). Six of the 19 cases (32%) with a mutation in TP53 had simultaneous mutations in KRAS (18%). The cases with alterations in JAK3, BRAF, and NRAS also had mutations in TP53. The case showing a mutation in PIK3CA had a mutation in KRAS. No EGFR mutations were observed. One case had ALK gene rearrangement. ALK rearrangement was observed in a single case of sarcomatoid carcinoma (3%), which has currently available targeted therapy. Four tumors had mutations in genes with experimental molecular-based therapy, including BRAF, NRAS, PIK3CA, and AKT1. Testing for targetable mutations should be considered for patients with pulmonary sarcomatoid carcinoma, as a subset may benefit from currently approved drugs or clinical trials of novel therapeutic options available for other types of lung cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)824-831
Number of pages8
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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