Identifying somatic changes in drug transporters using whole genome and transcriptome sequencing data of advanced tumors

W.S. van de Geer, R.H.J. Mathijssen, J. van Riet, N. Steeghs, M. Labots, C. van Herpen, L.A. Devriese, V.C.G. Tjan-Heijnen, E.E. Voest, S. Sleijfer, J.W.M. Martens, E. Cuppen, H.J.G. van de Werken*, S. Bins*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Drug resistance is a perpetual problem in cancer therapy with many underlying mechanisms. Alterations in drug transport over the cancer cell membrane can severely alter intratumoral drug exposure, contributing to resis-tance. Here, we present the somatic mutational landscape of 48 ATP-binding cassette and 416 solute carrier transporter genes in a cohort (CPCT-02; NCT01855477) of 3290 patients with different types of advanced and metastasized cancer through analysis of whole genome and transcriptome sequencing. In order to identify po-tential stressor mechanisms, we stratified patients based on previous systemic therapies and subsequently investigated the enrichment of mutations and copy-number alterations of transporter genes. In tumors from patients pretreated with protein kinase inhibitors (PKIs), genes encoding for specific copper (SLC31A1 and SLC31A2, chi 2-test adjusted p-values: 6.9e-09 and 2.5e-09) and nucleoside transporters (SLC28A2 and SLC28A3, chi 2-test adjusted p-values: 3.5e-06 and 6.8e-07) were deleted significantly more frequently than in patients pre-treated with chemotherapy. Moreover, we detected 16 transporters that were differentially expressed at RNA level between these treatment groups. These findings contradict mechanisms of selective pressure, as they would be expected to originate during treatment with chemotherapy rather than with PKIs. Hence, they might constitute primary drug resistance mechanisms and, therefore, warrant further study.
Original languageEnglish
Article number114210
Number of pages9
JournalBiomedicine & Pharmacotherapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • Pharmacogenomics
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Drug transporters
  • Metastatic cancer
  • Whole-genome sequencing
  • RNA sequencing
  • Precision medicine
  • SLC28A3


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