Multimodal Profiling of Biliary Tract Cancers to Detect Potentially Actionable Biomarkers and Differences in Immune Signatures Between Subtypes

ASCO Annual Meeting 2021 Presentation
Authors Kabir Mody, Nilofer Saba Azad, Prerna Jain, Sherif El-Refai, Rachna T. Shroff, Robin Kate Kelley, Anthony B. El-Khoueiry, Denise Lau, Gregory B. Lesinski, Mark Yarchoan

Background: Biliary tract cancers (BTC) are increasingly subtyped by molecular alterations, but little is known about the relationship between gain-of-function mutations and the RNA transcript expression of immune-related pathways.

Methods: A sample of retrospective, clinicogenomic and transcriptomic data from de-identified records of patients with BTC in the Tempus database was selected. We then investigated the relationship between the mutational landscape and immune-related RNA signatures of different anatomic and genomic BTC subtypes.

Results: The cohort included 455 samples of intrahepatic bile duct (IH) (n=267), gallbladder (GB) (n=153), and extrahepatic bile duct (EH) (n=35) cancer subtypes. Across all subtypes, we detected alterations in TP53 (43.8%), ARID1A (19.8%), KMT2C (18.2%), BAP1 (14.6%), KRAS (12.7%), TERT (12.0%), IDH1 (11.4%), KMT2D (11.0%), LRP1B (11.0%), and PBRM1 (10.7%), along with FGFR2 fusions (2.6%). Potentially actionable biomarkers (FGFR2 and NTRK1-3 fusions, IDH1 and BRAFV600E mutations, tumor mutational burden [TMB]>10, HER2 expression, and/or microsatellite instability) were identified in 21.1% of all BTC and 28.6% of IH samples. Mutually exclusive alterations observed between subtypes were TP53&BAP1KRAS&BAP1TP53&IDH1KRAS&IDH1, and SMAD4&BAP1 (P< 0.001 for all). GB was more inflamed based on RNA signatures and classical immune biomarkers, including PD-L1 and TMB. RNA signature analyses revealed a higher expression of immune-related pathways in GB than IH (P = 0.001) with no differences in comparison with EH. PD-L1 expression and continuous TMB were elevated in GB versus the other anatomical subtypes. Significant associations were noted between particular genetic mutations and immune profiling features (table).

Conclusions: BTC subtypes are diverse in DNA alterations, RNA inflammatory signatures, and immune markers. Notably, potentially actionable biomarkers were identified in a sizable portion of the cohort and varied significantly between subtypes. These results provide guidance for targeted therapy development and support the use of multimodal immune profiling for BTC. For example, GB-specific clinical trials may be considered due to the relative increase in immune-related biomarkers observed in GB and the historically limited success of BTC trials.