Somatic cancer genetics in the UK: real-world data from phase I of the Cancer Research UK Stratified Medicine Programme

Colin R Lindsay, Emily C Shaw, Fiona Blackhall, Kevin G Blyth, James D Brenton, Anshuman Chaturvedi, Noel Clarke, Craig Dick, Thomas R J Evans, Geoff Hall, Andrew M Hanby, David J Harrison, Stephen R D Johnston, Malcolm D Mason, Dion Morton, Julia Newton-Bishop, Andrew G Nicholson, Karin A Oien, Sanjay Popat, Doris RasslRowena Sharpe, Phillipe Taniere, Ian Walker, William A Wallace, Nicholas P West, Rachel Butler, David Gonzalez de Castro, Mike Griffiths, Peter W M Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Phase I of the Cancer Research UK Stratified Medicine Programme (SMP1) was designed to roll out molecular pathology testing nationwide at the point of cancer diagnosis, as well as facilitate an infrastructure where surplus cancer tissue could be used for research. It offered a non-trial setting to examine common UK cancer genetics in a real-world context.

Methods: A total of 26 sites in England, Wales and Scotland, recruited samples from 7814 patients for genetic examination between 2011 and 2013. Tumour types involved were breast, colorectal, lung, prostate, ovarian cancer and malignant melanoma. Centralised molecular testing of surplus material from resections or biopsies of primary/metastatic tissue was performed, with samples examined for 3-5 genetic alterations deemed to be of key interest in site-specific cancers by the National Cancer Research Institute Clinical Study groups.

Results: 10 754 patients (98% of those approached) consented to participate, from which 7814 tumour samples were genetically analysed. In total, 53% had at least one genetic aberration detected. From 1885 patients with lung cancer, KRAS mutation was noted to be highly prevalent in adenocarcinoma (37%). In breast cancer (1873 patients), there was a striking contrast in TP53 mutation incidence between patients with ductal cancer (27.3%) and lobular cancer (3.4%). Vast inter-tumour heterogeneity of colorectal cancer (1550 patients) was observed, including myriad double and triple combinations of genetic aberrations. Significant losses of important clinical information included smoking status in lung cancer and loss of distinction between low-grade and high-grade serous ovarian cancers.

Conclusion: Nationwide molecular pathology testing in a non-trial setting is feasible. The experience with SMP1 has been used to inform ongoing CRUK flagship programmes such as the CRUK National Lung MATRIX trial and TRACERx.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000408
Number of pages9
JournalESMO Open
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2018


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