Molecular Markers Associated with Clinical Response to Bexarotene Therapy in Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma
Annamari Ranki, Liisa Väkevä, Laura Sipilä, Kai Krohn
Bexarotene (Targretin®), was registered for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) in 2002, and has been reported to induce a 45% overall response. Responses are mostly partial or generate a stable, skin-restricted disease. This study explored the usefulness of a novel cancer-associated gene, NAV3 and corresponding chromosome 12 copy numbers as possible biomarkers to monitor the therapeutic response to bexarotene in 21 Finnish patients with CTCL. Six patients (29%) reached complete remission (CR) and 3 of these remained in CR for more than 24 months, 12 (57%) reached a partial response (PR, with one stable disease) and 3 were non-responders. Low-level NAV3 deletions were detected using a fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) assay in the lesions of 5 patients, 4 of whom were non-responders or progressed after short PR. This occurrence of NAV3 deletions was statistically significant compared with non-progressors (p = 0.011, Fisher’s exact test).
Chromosome 12 tetraploidy was found in the lesions of two of the 3 patients with CR who remained in remission. While such tetraploidy is a feature of proliferating normal T cells, this observation may reflect a favourable anti-tumour immune response among the skin-infiltrating lymphocytes.