Molecular profile of BRCA-mutated biliary tract cancers

Gilbert Spizzo, Alberto Puccini, Joanne Xiu, Richard M. Goldberg, Axel Grothey, Anthony F. Shields, Sukeshi Patel Arora, Moh'd Khushmann, Mohamed E. Salem, Francesca Battaglin, Yasmine Baca, Wafik S. El-Deiry, Philip A. Philip, Madiha Nassem, Michael Hall, John L. Marshall, Florian Kocher, Arno Amann, Dominik Wolf, W. Michael KornHeinz Lenz, Andreas Seeber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Introduction Prognosis of biliary tract cancers (BTC) remains dismal and novel treatment strategies are needed to improve survival. BRCA mutations are known to occur in BTC but their frequency and the molecular landscape in which they are observed in distinct sites of BTC remain unknown. Material and methods Tumour samples from 1292 patients with BTC, comprising intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (IHC, n=746), extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (EHC, n=189) and gallbladder cancer (GBC, n=353), were analysed using next-generation sequencing (NGS). Tumour mutational burden (TMB) was calculated based on somatic non-synonymous missense mutations. Determination of tumour mismatch repair (MMR) or microsatellite instability (MSI) status was done by fragment analysis, immunohistochemistry and the evaluation of known microsatellite loci by NGS. Programmed death ligand 1 expression was analysed using immunohistochemistry. Results Overall, BRCA mutations were detected in 3.6% (n=46) of samples (BRCA1: 0.6%, BRCA2: 3%) with no significant difference in frequency observed based on tumour site. In GBC and IHC, BRCA2 mutations (4.0% and 2.7%) were more frequent than BRCA1 (0.3% and 0.4%, p<0.05) while in EHC, similar frequency was observed (2.6% for BRCA2 vs 2.1% for BRCA1). BRCA mutations were associated with a higher rate in subjects with MSI-H/deficient mismatch repair (19.5% vs 1.7%, p<0.0001) and tumours with higher TMB, regardless of the MMR or MSI status (p<0.05). Conclusions BRCA mutations are found in a subgroup of patients with BTC and are characterised by a distinct molecular profile. These data provide a rationale testing poly(ADP-ribose)polymeraseinhibitors and other targeted therapies in patients with BRCA-mutant BTC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalESMO Open
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 23 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • BRCA
  • biliary tract cancer
  • molecular profile

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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