October 2, 2015

Genomic characterisation of two cancers of unknown primary cases supports a kidney cancer origin

Elizabeth Y Wei, Ying-Bei Chen, James J Hsieh

Cancer of unknown primary (CUP) comprises of 3–5% of new cancer diagnoses in the USA. Diagnostic work up typically includes CT of the chest, abdomen and pelvis, and histopathological review of tissue specimens. These measures are neither sensitive nor specific in determining tissue of origin (ToO) of primary tumours and, therefore, are unable to guide therapy. We present two cases of CUP for which we utilised ultra-deep genomic sequencing to identify the candidate ToO and to propose treatment. Patient 1 presented with metastases involving the lung, lymph nodes and bone. Patient 2 presented with an acute pathological fracture of the T7 vertebral body and metastases involving the bone, lymph nodes and soft tissue. No primary renal mass was found. Sequencing revealed SETD2 and NF2 mutations, and heterozygous loss of the short arm of chromosome 3 (3p). Mutations in conjunction with clinicopathological features strongly support a diagnosis of renal cell carcinoma. Both patients initially responded to mTORC1 inhibition therapy.