Children with treatment-refractory or relapsed (R/R) tumors face poor prognoses. As the genomic underpinnings driving R/R disease are not well defined, we describe here the genomic and transcriptomic landscapes of R/R solid tumors from 202 patients enrolled in Beat Childhood Cancer Consortium clinical trials. Tumor mutational burden (TMB) was elevated relative to untreated tumors at diagnosis, with one-third of tumors classified as having a pediatric high TMB. Prior chemotherapy exposure influenced the mutational landscape of these R/R tumors, with more than 40% of tumors demonstrating mutational signatures associated with platinum or temozolomide chemotherapy and two tumors showing treatment-associated hypermutation. Immunogenomic profiling found a heterogenous pattern of neoantigen and MHC class I expression and a general absence of immune infiltration. Transcriptional analysis and functional gene set enrichment analysis identified cross-pathology clusters associated with development, immune signaling, and cellular signaling pathways. While the landscapes of these R/R tumors reflected those of their corresponding untreated tumors at diagnosis, important exceptions were observed, suggestive of tumor evolution, treatment resistance mechanisms, and mutagenic etiologies of treatment.

Significance:

Tumor heterogeneity, chemotherapy exposure, and tumor evolution contribute to the molecular profiles and increased mutational burden that occur in treatment-refractory and relapsed childhood solid tumors.

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