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01.12.2019 | Case Report | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

Diagnostic Pathology 1/2019

Targeted sequencing identifies the mutational signature of double primary and metastatic malignancies: a case report

Diagnostic Pathology > Ausgabe 1/2019
Chuangzhou Rao, Liangqin Nie, Xiaobo Miao, Analyn Lizaso, Guofang Zhao
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s13000-019-0874-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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The accurate identification of the tissue of origin is critical for optimal management of cancer patients particularly those who develop multiple malignancies; however, conventional diagnostic methods at times may fail to provide conclusive diagnosis of the origin of the malignancy. Herein, we describe the use of targeted sequencing in distinguishing the primary and metastatic tumors in a patient with metachronous malignancies in the lung, colon and kidney.

Case presentation

In December 2016, a 55-year-old Chinese male was diagnosed with stage IB lung adenosquamous carcinoma and treated with left lower lobectomy and 4 cycles of platinum-based chemotherapy. After being disease-free for 3.5 months, three colonic polyps were discovered and were diagnosed as invasive adenocarcinoma after polypectomy. Within 5.4 months from the polypectomy, squamous cell renal carcinoma was identified and was managed by radical nephrectomy. Immunohistochemistry results were inconclusive on the origin of the kidney tumor. Hence, the three archived surgical tissue samples were sequenced using a targeted panel with 520 cancer-related genes. Analysis revealed similar mutational signature between the lung and kidney tumors and a distinct mutational profile for the colon tumor, suggesting that the lung and colon malignancies were primary tumors, while the kidney tumor originated from the lung, revealing a diagnosis of metastatic double primary cancer – lung carcinoma with renal cell metastasis and second primary colon carcinoma.


Mutational profiling using targeted sequencing is valuable not only for the detection of actionable mutations, but also in the identification of the origin of tumors. This diagnostic approach should be considered in similar scenarios.
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