Purpose: Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signalings have recently been implicated in the genesis and progression of cholangiocarcinomas. Thus, the EGFR kinase inhibitor appears to be promising in the treatment of this cancer. The response-predicting mutations in the tyrosine kinase domain of EGFR gene have recently been detected in non-small cell lung cancers. This study was, therefore, to investigate if these mutations are also found in cholangiocarcinomas.
Methods: Twenty-two consecutive cholangiocarcinoma patients who underwent surgical resection were enrolled. Their resected paraffin-embedded cholangiocarcinoma specimens were used for mutation analysis, which was performed by DNA sequencing of exons 18, 19 and 21 in the EGFR gene. Clinical characteristics were compared between each group according to the presence or absence of mutations.
Results: Three patients (13.6%) harbored EGFR mutations. All the mutations found were deletions in exon 19. Mutations were more common in intra-hepatic or poorly differentiated tumors. Differences in age, sex, stage at diagnosis and survival were not observed between mutation-positive and -negative patients.
Conclusions: This study, for the first time, demonstrates that a subset of cholangiocarcinoma patients has response-predicting EGFR mutations. Therefore, a highly selected application of the EGFR kinase inhibitor would be therapeutically effective in these patients.