Background Imatinib 400 mg per day is first-line therapy for patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs). Although clinical benefit is high, progression-free survival (PFS) is variable. This study explores the relationship of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes related to imatinib pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics and PFS in imatinib-treated patients with advanced GIST.
Methods In 227 patients a pharmacogenetic pathway analysis was performed. Genotype data from 36 SNPs in 18 genes were tested in univariate analyses to investigate their relationship with PFS. Genetic variables which showed a trend (p < 0.1) were tested in a multivariate model, in which each singular SNP was added to clinicopathological factors.
Results In univariate analyses, PFS was associated with synchronous metastases (p = 0.0008) and the mutational status (p = 0.004). Associations with rs1870377 in KDR (additive model, p = 0.0009), rs1570360 in VEGFA (additive model, p = 0.053) and rs4149117 in SLCO1B3 (mutant dominant model, 0.027) were also found. In the multivariate model, significant associations and trends with shorter PFS were found for synchronous metastases (HR 1.94, p = 0.002), KIT exon 9 mutation (HR 2.45, p = 0.002) and the SNPs rs1870377 (AA genotype, HR 2.61, p = 0.015), rs1570360 (AA genotype, HR 2.02, p = 0.037) and rs4149117 (T allele, HR 0.62, p = 0.083).
Conclusion In addition to KIT exon 9 mutation and synchronous metastases, SNPs in KDR, VEGFA and SLCO1B3 appear to be associated with PFS in patients with advanced GIST receiving 400-mg imatinib. If validated, specific SNPs may serve as predictive biomarkers to identify patients with an increased risk for progressive disease during imatinib therapy.

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European Journal of Cancer
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Verboom, M., Kloth, J., Swen, J., van der Straaten, T., Bovée, J., Sleijfer, S., … Gelderblom, H. (2017). Genetic polymorphisms in angiogenesis-related genes are associated with worse progression-free survival of patients with advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumours treated with imatinib. European Journal of Cancer, 86, 226–232. doi:10.1016/j.ejca.2017.09.025