Epidermal growth factor receptor gene mutation in non-small cell lung cancer using highly sensitive and fast TaqMan PCR assay

Lung Cancer. 2005 Dec;50(3):375-84. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2005.08.009. Epub 2005 Sep 30.


Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene mutations have been found in a subset of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with good clinical response to gefitinib therapy. A quick and sensitive method with large throughput is required to utilize the information to determine whether the molecular targeted therapy should be applied for the particular NSCLC patients. Using probes for the 13 different mutations including 11 that have already been reported, we have genotyped the EGFR mutation status in 94 NSCLC patients using the TaqMan PCR assay. We have also genotyped the EGFR mutations status in additional 182 NSCLC patients, as well as 63 gastric, 95 esophagus and 70 colon carcinoma patients. In 94 NSCLC samples, the result of the TaqMan PCR assay perfectly matched with that of the sequencing excluding one patient. In one sample in which no EGFR mutation was detected by direct sequencing, the TaqMan PCR assay detected a mutation. This patient was a gefitinib responder. In a serial dilution study, the assay could detect a mutant sample diluted in 1/10 with a wild-type sample. Of 182 NSCLC samples, 46 mutations were detected. EGFR mutation was significantly correlated with gender, smoking status, pathological subtypes, and differentiation of lung cancers. There was no mutation detected by the TaqMan PCR assay in gastric, esophagus and colon carcinomas. TaqMan PCR assay is a rapid and sensitive method of detection of EGFR mutations with high throughput, and may be useful to determine whether gefitinib should be offered for the treatment of NSCLC patients. The TaqMan PCR assay can offer us a complementary and confirmative test.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / genetics
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics*
  • Erlotinib Hydrochloride
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Female
  • Gefitinib
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Quinazolines / therapeutic use
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Stomach Neoplasms / genetics


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Quinazolines
  • Erlotinib Hydrochloride
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Gefitinib