1. Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea;
2. Department of Pathology & Translational Genomics, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Background: c-MET is a proto-oncogene that encodes the tyrosine kinase receptor for hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). Activation of HGF-c-MET signaling involves cell invasiveness and evokes metastasis through direct involvement of tumor angiogenesis. However, the value of c-MET overexpression is still unknown in metastatic biliary tract cancer (BTC).
Methods: We analyzed the incidence and clinicopathologic characteristics of c-MET overexpression in advanced BTC. Moreover, we investigated the value of c-MET overexpression in predicting response to gemicitabine plus cisplatin (GC), a first line standard regimen, and as a prognostic marker in metastatic BTC.
Results: The BTC subtype distribution (N=44) was as follows: intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (IHCC, n=7), extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (EHCC, n=25) and gallbladder cancer (GBC, n=12). Liver (52.3%) was the predominant metastatic site, followed by lymph nodes (36.4%) and bone (15.9%). Among the 44 patients analyzed for c-MET expression, 15 (34.1%) exhibited c-MET overexpression in tumor tissues. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of c-MET overexpression among primary sites in EHCC (7/25, 28.0%), IHCC (3/7, 42.9%), and GBC (5/12, 41.7%). There was also no significant correlation between specific clinicopathologic variables and c-MET expression. Comparing the tumor-response to GC according to c-MET expression (overexpression vs. non-overexpression), there was no significant difference in either RR or DCR (p=0.394 and p >0.999, respectively). The median PFS for all 44 patients was 9.00 months (95% CI, 7.5-10.5 months) and there was no significant difference for PFS between patients with c-MET overexpression and those without (p=0.917). The median OS was 14.4 months (95% CI, 11.9-16.9 months). There was no significant difference in OS between patients with c-MET overexpression compared to those without (13.7 vs. 14.4 months, respectively; p=0.708).
Conclusions: c-MET overexpression was detected in 34.1% of advanced BTC patients irrespective of tumor location. c-MET overexpression did not predict response to GC or survival. Further studies are needed to fully elucidate the value of c-MET overexpression as a novel biomarker in these patients.
Keywords: c-MET, Biliary tract cancer (BTC).