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Clin Cancer Res. 2014 Jan 1;20(1):68-75. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-1992. Epub 2013 Nov 5.

A high frequency of activating extracellular domain ERBB2 (HER2) mutation in micropapillary urothelial carcinoma.

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Authors' Affiliations: Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Albany Medical College, Albany, New York; and Foundation Medicine, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts.



Micropapillary urothelial carcinoma (MPUC) is a rare and aggressive form of bladder cancer. We conducted genomic analyses [next-generation sequencing (NGS)] of MPUC and non-micropapillary urothelial bladder carcinomas (non-MPUC) to characterize the genomic landscape and identify targeted treatment options.


DNA was extracted from 40 μm of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded sections from 15 MPUC and 64 non-MPUC tumors. Sequencing (NGS) was performed on hybridization-captured, adaptor ligation-based libraries to high coverage for 3,230 exons of 182 cancer-related genes plus 37 introns from 14 genes frequently rearranged in cancer. The results were evaluated for all classes of genomic alteration.


Mutations in the extracellular domain of ERBB2 were identified in 6 of 15 (40%) of MPUC: S310F (four cases), S310Y (one case), and R157W (one case). All six cases of MPUC with ERBB2 mutation were negative for ERBB2 amplification and Erbb2 overexpression. In contrast, 6 of 64 (9.4%) non-MPUC harbored an ERBB2 alteration, including base substitution (three cases), amplification (two cases), and gene fusion (one case), which is higher than the 2 of 159 (1.3%) protein-changing ERBB2 mutations reported for urinary tract cancer in COSMIC. The enrichment of ERBB2 alterations in MPUC compared with non-MPUC is significant both between this series (P < 0.0084) and for all types of urinary tract cancer in COSMIC (P < 0.001).


NGS of MPUC revealed a high incidence of mutation in the extracellular domain of ERBB2, a gene for which there are five approved targeted therapies. NGS can identify genomic alteration, which inform treatment options for the majority of MPUC patients.

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