Pulmonary large-cell neuroendocrine carcinomas (LCNECs) have similarities with other lung cancers, but their precise relationship has remained unclear. Here we perform a comprehensive genomic (n = 60) and transcriptomic (n = 69) analysis of 75 LCNECs and identify two molecular subgroups: "type I LCNECs" with bi-allelic TP53 and STK11/KEAP1 alterations (37%), and "type II LCNECs" enriched for bi-allelic inactivation of TP53 and RB1 (42%). Despite sharing genomic alterations with adenocarcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas, no transcriptional relationship was found; instead LCNECs form distinct transcriptional subgroups with closest similarity to SCLC. While type I LCNECs and SCLCs exhibit a neuroendocrine profile with ASCL1 high/DLL3 high/NOTCH low, type II LCNECs bear TP53 and RB1 alterations and differ from most SCLC tumors with reduced neuroendocrine markers, a pattern of ASCL1 low/DLL3 low/NOTCH high, and an upregulation of immune-related pathways. In conclusion, LCNECs comprise two molecularly defined subgroups, and distinguishing them from SCLC may allow stratified targeted treatment of high-grade neuroendocrine lung tumors.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)