Purpose: Choriocarcinoma is most commonly gestational (androgenetic or biparental) but can be of germ cell origin or can develop as a component of a somatic neoplasm (genetically related to the patient). The latter type are aggressive neoplasms for which the underlying genetic alterations are not well characterized. Experimental Design: To investigate the relationship between the different components of somatic neoplasms with choriocarcinomatous elements, the genetic differences between gestational and nongestational tumors, and identify potential targetable alterations, we analyzed 23 samples from 11 tumors, including five gynecologic-type somatic neoplasms with choriocarcinomatous differentiation (two to three different components each) and six pure choriocarcinomas, for somatic mutations, single-nucleotide polymorphisms, and PD-L1 expression. Results: In mixed tumors, gynecologic-type carcinoma components demonstrated lineage-characteristic and lineage-specific alterations, with choriocarcinomatous components sharing some of these as well as demonstrating novel alterations, supporting a clonal relationship with divergent differentiation of the choriocarcinoma from the somatic carcinoma. TP53 mutation only occurred in nongestational tumors. Diffuse PD-L1 expression was characteristic of choriocarcinoma in both pure and mixed tumors but not seen in the gynecologic-type carcinoma components. Conclusions: Given that the somatic carcinomatous and choriocarcinomatous components of mixed tumors have distinct genetic alterations and biomarker expression, separate analysis of these components is required to guide targeted therapy. High PD-L1 expression suggests a role for checkpoint inhibitor–based immunotherapy in tumors with a choriocarcinoma component. The underlying mechanisms by which cancer stem cells reprogram and initiate trophoblastic retrodifferentiation in some somatic tumors warrant further investigation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research