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Functional diagnostics using fresh uncultured lung tumor cells to guide personalized treatments

Talwelkar, SS;Mäyränpää, MI;Søraas, L;Potdar, S;Bao, J;Hemmes, A;Linnavirta, N;Lømo, J;Räsänen, J;Knuuttila, A;Wennerberg, K;Verschuren, EW;

Functional profiling of a cancer patient’s tumor cells holds potential to tailor personalized cancer treatment. Here, we report the utility of fresh uncultured tumor-derived EpCAM+ epithelial cells (FUTCs) for ex vivo drug-response interrogation. Analysis of murine Kras mutant FUTCs demonstrates pharmacological and adaptive signaling profiles comparable to subtype-matched cultured cells. By applying FUTC profiling on non-small-cell lung cancer patient samples, we report robust drug-response data in 19 of 20 cases, with cells exhibiting targeted drug sensitivities corresponding to their oncogenic drivers. In one of these cases, an EGFR mutant lung adenocarcinoma patient refractory to osimertinib, FUTC profiling is used to guide compassionate treatment. FUTC profiling identifies selective sensitivity to disulfiram and the combination of carboplatin plus etoposide, and the patient receives substantial clinical benefit from treatment with these agents. We conclude that FUTC profiling provides a robust, rapid, and actionable assessment of personalized cancer treatment options.