KRAS mutational status as a predictor of epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor efficacy in colorectal cancer

Am J Ther. Nov-Dec 2009;16(6):554-61. doi: 10.1097/MJT.0b013e318199fa17.


Inhibitors of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) have demonstrated promising potential in the treatment of advanced colorectal cancer. However, a proportion of patients do not respond to therapy with EGFR inhibitors, and therefore, there has been interest in identifying those patients most likely to benefit from therapy with these agents. KRAS, a member of the RAS family of signaling proteins, plays an important role in EGFR-mediated regulation of cellular proliferation and survival. Although there is still some debate regarding the prognostic importance of KRAS mutations in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, several recent phase 2 and 3 studies have identified the presence of mutations at codons 12 and 13 of KRAS as predictors of poor response to the anti-EGFR monoclonal antibodies panitumumab and cetuximab. Patients with wild-type KRAS were found to have significantly better progression-free survival, overall survival, and/or objective response rate compared with patients harboring KRAS mutations. As a result, there has been growing interest in the development of KRAS mutational status as a biomarker for predicting patient response to EGFR-targeted therapy. Screening colorectal tumors for the absence of KRAS mutations may help identify patients most likely to benefit from anti-EGFR therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacokinetics
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cetuximab
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • ErbB Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Genetic Testing
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Panitumumab
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • Treatment Outcome
  • ras Proteins / genetics*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • KRAS protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Panitumumab
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • ras Proteins
  • Cetuximab