Detection of oncogenic mutations in the EGFR gene in lung adenocarcinoma with differential sensitivity to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors

Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 2005:70:73-81. doi: 10.1101/sqb.2005.70.056.


The complete sequencing of the human genome and the development of molecularly targeted cancer therapy have promoted efforts to identify systematically the genetic alterations in human cancer. By high-throughput sequencing of tyrosine kinase genes in human non-small-cell lung cancer, we identified somatic mutations in the kinase domain of the epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase gene (EGFR) that are correlated with clinical response to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). We have shown that these mutant forms of EGFR induce oncogenic transformation in different cellular systems. Cells whose growth depends on EGFR with mutations in exons 19 and 21 are sensitive to EGFR-TKIs, whereas cells expressing insertion mutations in exon 20 or the T790M point mutant, found in tumor biopsies from patients that relapsed after an initial response to EGFR-TKIs, are resistant. Furthermore, by applying a novel, massively parallel sequencing technology, we have shown that clinically relevant oncogene mutations can be detected in clinical specimens with very low tumor content, thereby enabling optimal patient selection for mutation-directed therapy. In summary, by applying high-throughput genomic resequencing, we have identified a novel therapeutic target, mutant EGFR, in lung cancer and evaluated its role in predicting response to targeted therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy
  • Adenocarcinoma / enzymology
  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics
  • ErbB Receptors / chemistry
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics
  • Genes, erbB-1*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Mutation*
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary


  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • ErbB Receptors