BACKGROUND: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a leading cause of cancer-related death globally. Mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is frequently up-regulated in HCC and plays an important role in HCC tumorigenesis. Tumors with loss of tuberous sclerosis complex 2 (TSC2), a negative regulator of mTOR signaling, tend to respond well to mTOR inhibitors. We analyzed TSC2 expression status in Korean patients with HCC and evaluated the correlation between TSC2 loss and response to the mTOR inhibitor, everolimus. METHODS: We retrospectively assessed 36 patients with advanced HCC who had received sorafenib at a single center in Korea between 2008 and 2014, and for whom tumor specimens were available for TSC2 immunohistochemical analysis (IHC). Three patient-derived tumor cell lines (PDCs) were analyzed by western blotting to determine TSC2 expression and drug sensitivity to mTOR. RESULTS: Twelve of 36 patients (33.3%) showed low to undetectable levels of TSC2 expression. No significant differences were observed in progression-free survival (PFS) or overall survival with sorafenib treatment based on TSC2 expression status. Two patients were treated with everolimus after sorafenib failure; one patient, with moderate TSC2 expression, experienced stable disease with a PFS of 5.8 months; the other, with high TSC2 expression, experienced rapid progression. PDC models demonstrated that the TSC2-low HCC PDC line was significantly more sensitive to everolimus than the TSC2-high HCC PDC lines. CONCLUSION: Loss of TSC2 may predict improved response to everolimus in HCC patients, but further studies are needed to confirm the predictive role of TSC2 expression for everolimus treatment.
|Number of pages||6|
|State||Published - Oct 2016|