Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) is one of the most lethal human cancers with meager treatment options. We aimed to identify the targeted drugs already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for solid cancer in general, which could be effective in ATC.
FDA-approved drugs for targeted therapy were identified by screening the databases of MyCancerGenome and the National Cancer Institute. Drugs were linked to the target genes by querying Drugbank. Subsequently, MyCancerGenome, CIViC, TARGET and OncoKB were mined for genetic alterations which are predicted to lead to drug sensitivity or resistance. We searched the Cancer Genome Atlas database (TCGA) for patients with ATC and probed their sequencing data for genetic alterations which predict a drug response.
In the study,155 FDA-approved drugs with 136 potentially targetable genes were identified. Seventeen (52%) of 33 patients found in TCGA had at least one genetic alteration in targetable genes. The point mutation BRAF V600E was seen in 45% of patients. PIK3CA occurred in 18% of cases. Amplifications of ALK and SRC were detected in 3% of cases, respectively. Fifteen percent of the patients displayed a co-mutation of BRAF and PIK3CA. Besides BRAF-inhibitors, the PIK3CA-inhibitor copanlisib showed a genetically predicted response. The 146 (94%) remaining drugs showed no or low (under 4% cases) genetically predicted drug response.
While ATC carrying BRAF mutations can benefit from BRAF inhibitors and this effect might be enhanced by a combined strategy including PIK3CA inhibitors in some of the patients, alterations in BRAFWT ATC are not directly targeted by currently FDA-approved options.