Double mutation and gene copy number of EGFR in gefitinib refractory non-small-cell lung cancer

Lung Cancer. 2006 Jul;53(1):117-21. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2006.04.008. Epub 2006 May 30.


Mutations of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene have been reported in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), especially in patients with adenocarcinoma and never smokers. Some common somatic mutations in EGFR, including deletion mutations in exon 19 and leucine-to-arginine substitution at amino acid position 858 (L858R) in exon 21, have been examined for their ability to predict sensitivity to gefitinib or erlotinib, which are selective EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs). On the other hand, reports have shown that the threonine-to-methionine substitution at amino acid position 790 (T790M) in exon 20 is related to gefitinib resistance. Some studies have indicated that high copy numbers of the EGFR gene may be a more effective molecular predictor to responsiveness and prolonged survival in patients treated with EGFR-TKIs. Here, we describe two NSCLC patients with the L858R mutation who did not respond to gefitinib. Case 1 harbored both the T790M and L858R mutations, and fluorescence in situ hybridization showed EGFR gene amplification. Case 2 harbored both the L858R and aspartic acid-to-tyrosine substitution at amino acid position 761 in exon 19 of EGFR mutations and had a high polysomy status for EGFR. In these two cases, tumors showed resistance to gefitinib treatment despite the presence of EGFR L858R mutation and increased copy number. Our findings encourage further molecular analysis to elucidate the relationship between the EGFR status, including mutations and amplifications, and the responsiveness of NSCLC to gefitinib.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics
  • DNA Mutational Analysis / methods
  • ErbB Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics*
  • Exons
  • Female
  • Gefitinib
  • Gene Dosage*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Quinazolines / therapeutic use*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Quinazolines
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Gefitinib