Patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have African-American ancestry may not differ from those with European backgrounds when it comes to presence of somatic driver mutations, according to a study published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Luiz Araujo, MD, of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and fellow researchers examined 99 patients that included 31 squamous and 69 non-squamous cell carcinomas.

“Technologic advances have enabled the comprehensive analysis of genetic perturbations in NSCLC,” the authors noted. “However, African-Americans have often been underrepresented in these studies.”

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They detected 227 non-silent variants in coding sequences, including 24 samples with non-overlapping, classic driver alterations.

The researchers found that the frequency of driver mutations was not significantly different in African-American patients with that of whites, with no association found between genetic ancestry and presence of somatic mutations.

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Upon copy number alteration analysis, they saw distinguishable amplifications in the 3q chromosome arm for squamous cell carcinomas that potentially marked targetable alterations.

“We demonstrated that using a comprehensive genotyping approach could identify numerous targetable alterations, with potential impact on therapeutic decisions,” the authors concluded. 


  1. Araujo, Luiz H., et al. “Genomic Characterization of Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer in African Americans by Targeted Massively Parallel Sequencing.” Journal of Clinical Oncology. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2014.59.2444. [epub ahead of print]. April 27, 2015.