Biomarkers Predicting Clinical Outcome of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor–Targeted Therapy in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

The Falck Division of Medical Oncology, Ospedale Niguarda Ca' Granda, Piazza Ospedale Maggiore 3, 20162 Milan, Italy.
CancerSpectrum Knowledge Environment (Impact Factor: 15.16). 10/2009; 101(19):1308-24. DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djp280
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The monoclonal antibodies panitumumab and cetuximab that target the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) have expanded the range of treatment options for metastatic colorectal cancer. Initial evaluation of these agents as monotherapy in patients with EGFR-expressing chemotherapy-refractory tumors yielded response rates of approximately 10%. The realization that detection of positive EGFR expression by immunostaining does not reliably predict clinical outcome of EGFR-targeted treatment has led to an intense search for alternative predictive biomarkers. Oncogenic activation of signaling pathways downstream of the EGFR, such as mutation of KRAS, BRAF, or PIK3CA oncogenes, or inactivation of the PTEN tumor suppressor gene is central to the progression of colorectal cancer. Tumor KRAS mutations, which may be present in 35%-45% of patients with colorectal cancer, have emerged as an important predictive marker of resistance to panitumumab or cetuximab treatment. In addition, among colorectal tumors carrying wild-type KRAS, mutation of BRAF or PIK3CA or loss of PTEN expression may be associated with resistance to EGFR-targeted monoclonal antibody treatment, although these additional biomarkers require further validation before incorporation into clinical practice. Additional knowledge of the molecular basis for sensitivity or resistance to EGFR-targeted monoclonal antibodies will allow the development of new treatment algorithms to identify patients who are most likely to respond to treatment and could also provide rationale for combining therapies to overcome primary resistance. The use of KRAS mutations as a selection biomarker for anti-EGFR monoclonal antibody (eg, panitumumab or cetuximab) treatment is the first major step toward individualized treatment for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.

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    ABSTRACT: Background Investigations of genetic alterations and correlations with histology or morphology could provide further insights into colorectal carcinogenesis. Nevertheless, such genetic changes were less investigated in adenoma stage and a comprehensive survey of oncogenic mutations in EGFR signaling pathway according to different morphologic subtypes has not been performed.MethodsA total of 94 neoplasms, including 34 polypoid adenoma, 16 lateral spreading tumors-granular (LST-G), 20 non-granular LST (LST-NG), and 24 depressed tumors, were subjected for mutational analysis of KRAS (exon 2), BRAF (exon 11 and 15), PIK3CA (exon 9 and 20), AKT (exon 4), EGFR (exon 18¿24) and HER2 (exon18-24).ResultsKRAS mutation was noted more frequently in LST (13/36, 36.1%) than polypoid neoplasms (5/34, 14.7%, p¿=¿0.041). When comparing with LST-NG, LST-G had a significantly higher frequency of KRAS mutation. (9/16, 56.3% vs. 4/20, 20.0%, p¿=¿0.024). BRAF mutation (V600E) was found in 2 of 36 (5.6%)LSTs and 1 of 34 (2.9%) polypoid lesions. The two LST lesions with BRAF mutation were pathologically proven to be serrated adenoma. PIK3CA mutation (exon 9 E545K) was identified only in LST (5/36, 13.9%). Mutations in KRAS, BRAF or PIK3CA occurred in a mutually exclusive manner. All mutations were absent in the specimens obtained from depressed type neoplasms.Conclusions Three different macroscopic subtypes of colorectal neoplasms display distinct carcinogenetic pathways in EGFR networking. Further molecular studies of CRCs should take macroscopic subtypes into consideration and highlight the importance of consensus and communication between endoscopic and pathologic diagnosis.
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