Publications & Posters

Proteogenomic Analysis of Salivary Adenoid Cystic Carcinomas Defines Molecular Subtypes and Identifies Therapeutic Targets

Clinical Cancer Research | February 2021

Ferrarotto R, Mitani Y, McGrail DJ, Li K, Karpinets TV, Bell D, Frank SJ, Song X, Kupferman ME, Liu B, Lee JJ, Glisson BS, Zhang J, Aster JC, Lin SY, Futreal PA, Heymach JV and El-Naggar AK

Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. 2021;27:852-864

DOI: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-1192


Purpose: Salivary gland adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) has heterogeneous clinical behavior. Currently, all patients are treated uniformly, and no standard-of-care systemic therapy exists for metastatic ACC. We conducted an integrated proteogenomic analyses of ACC tumors to identify dysregulated pathways and propose a classification with therapeutic implications.

Experimental Design: RNA/DNA sequencing of 54 flash-frozen salivary ACCs and reverse phase protein array (RPPA) in 38 specimens were performed, with validation by Western blotting and/or IHC. Three independent ACC cohorts were used for validation.

Results: Both unbiased RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) and RPPA analysis revealed two molecular subtypes: ACC-I (37%) and ACC-II (63%). ACC-I had strong upregulation of MYC, MYC target genes, and mRNA splicing, enrichment of NOTCH-activating mutations, and dramatically worse prognosis. ACC-II exhibited upregulation of TP63 and receptor tyrosine kinases (AXL, MET, and EGFR) and less aggressive clinical course. TP63 and MYC were sufficient to assign tumors to ACC subtypes, which was validated in one independent cohort by IHC and two additional independent cohorts by RNA-seq. Furthermore, IHC staining for MYC and P63 protein levels can be used to identify ACC subtypes, enabling rapid clinical deployment to guide therapeutic decisions. Our data suggest a model in which ACC-I is driven by MYC signaling through either NOTCH mutations or direct amplification, which in turn suppress P63 signaling observed in ACC-II, producing unique therapeutic vulnerabilities for each subtype.

Conclusions: Cooccurrence of multiple actionable protein/pathways alterations in each subtype indicates unique therapeutic vulnerabilities and opportunities for optimal combination therapy for this understudied and heterogeneous disease.