Diagnostic Yield From a Nationwide Implementation of Precision Medicine for all Children With Cancer

Wadensten E, Wessman S, Abel F, Diaz De Ståhl T, Tesi B, Orsmark Pietras C, Arvidsson L, Taylan F, Fransson S, Vogt H, Poluha A, Pradhananga S, Hellberg M, Lagerstedt-Robinson K, Raj Somarajan P, Samuelsson S, Orrsjö S, Maqbool K, Henning K, Strid T, Ek T, Fagman H, Olsson Bontell T, Martinsson T, Puls F, Kogner P, Wirta V, Pronk CJ, Wille J, Rosenquist R, Nistér M, Mertens F, Sabel M, Norén-Nyström U, Grillner P, Nordgren A, Ljungman G, Sandgren J, Gisselsson D

JCO Precis Oncol. 2023 Jun;7:e2300039. doi: 10.1200/PO.23.00039. PMID: 37384868; PMCID: PMC10581599.

Purpose: Several studies have indicated that broad genomic characterization of childhood cancer provides diagnostically and/or therapeutically relevant information in selected high-risk cases. However, the extent to which such characterization offers clinically actionable data in a prospective broadly inclusive setting remains largely unexplored.

Methods: We implemented prospective whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of tumor and germline, complemented by whole-transcriptome sequencing (RNA-Seq) for all children diagnosed with a primary or relapsed solid malignancy in Sweden. Multidisciplinary molecular tumor boards were set up to integrate genomic data in the clinical decision process along with a medicolegal framework enabling secondary use of sequencing data for research purposes.

Results: During the study’s first 14 months, 118 solid tumors from 117 patients were subjected to WGS, with complementary RNA-Seq for fusion gene detection in 52 tumors. There was no significant geographic bias in patient enrollment, and the included tumor types reflected the annual national incidence of pediatric solid tumor types. Of the 112 tumors with somatic mutations, 106 (95%) exhibited alterations with a clear clinical correlation. In 46 of 118 tumors (39%), sequencing only corroborated histopathological diagnoses, while in 59 cases (50%), it contributed to additional subclassification or detection of prognostic markers. Potential treatment targets were found in 31 patients (26%), most commonly ALK mutations/fusions (n = 4), RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK pathway mutations (n = 14), FGFR1 mutations/fusions (n = 5), IDH1 mutations (n = 2), and NTRK2 gene fusions (n = 2). In one patient, the tumor diagnosis was revised based on sequencing. Clinically relevant germline variants were detected in 8 of 94 patients (8.5%).

Conclusion: Up-front, large-scale genomic characterization of pediatric solid malignancies provides diagnostically valuable data in the majority of patients also in a largely unselected cohort.