TP53 mutations predict disease control in metastatic colorectal cancer treated with cetuximab-based chemotherapy

Br J Cancer. 2009 Apr 21;100(8):1330-5. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6605008.


Recent studies have suggested that activation of the EGFR pathway leads to malignant transformation only if the p53 protein is inactivated. Therefore, we evaluated the impact of TP53 mutations on cetuximab-based chemotherapy (CT) sensitivity in combination with KRAS mutations that have been associated with cetuximab resistance. KRAS and TP53 status were assessed in tumours from 64 metastatic colorectal cancer patients treated with cetuximab-based CT and correlated to clinical response using the Fisher's exact test. Times to progression (TTPs) according to gene status were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method and compared with log-rank test. TP53 mutations were found in 41 patients and were significantly associated with controlled disease (CD), as defined as complete response, partial response or stable disease (P=0.037) and higher TTP (20 vs 12 weeks, P=0.004). Remarkably, in the subgroup of 46 patients without KRAS mutation, but not in patients with KRAS mutation, TP53 mutations were also associated with CD (P=0.008) and higher TTP (24 vs 12 weeks, P=0.0007). This study suggests that TP53 mutations are predictive of cetuximab sensitivity, particularly in patients without KRAS mutation, and that TP53 genotyping could have a clinical interest to select patients who should benefit from cetuximab-based CT.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cetuximab
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • DNA, Neoplasm / isolation & purification
  • Disease Progression
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Exons
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics*
  • ras Proteins / genetics


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • KRAS protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • ras Proteins
  • Cetuximab