EGFR/KRAS/BRAF mutations in primary lung adenocarcinomas and corresponding locoregional lymph node metastases

Clin Cancer Res. 2009 Jul 15;15(14):4554-60. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-0089. Epub 2009 Jul 7.


Purpose: The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and its downstream factors KRAS and BRAF are mutated with different frequencies in non-small cell lung cancer and mutations predict clinical response to EGFR inhibitors. The present study compared the mutational status of EGFR, KRAS, and BRAF in primary tumors with the one in corresponding lymph node metastases.

Experimental design: Direct bidirectional sequencing of EGFR gene exons 18 to 21, KRAS gene codons 12/13 and 61 to 68, and BRAF exon 15 was done on 96 paired samples of primary lung adenocarcinomas and corresponding locoregional lymph node metastases. In addition, comparative genomic hybridization analyses in two pairs of corresponding primary and metastatic tumor samples with discordant EGFR mutation status were done.

Results: Mutations in EGFR, KRAS, and BRAF were observed in 7 (7%), 36 (38%), and 2 (2%) patients, respectively. Interestingly, KRAS mutations were observed in two patients with an EGFR mutation. Mutations in primary tumors and lymph node metastases were identical in 1 of 7 (14%) patients in case of EGFR and 11 of 36 (31%) patients in case of KRAS. One patient harbored different KRAS mutations in primary and corresponding metastatic tumors. Comparative genomic hybridization analysis revealed similar patterns of chromosomal changes, strongly supporting a common clonal origin of primary tumors and metastases.

Conclusions: The possibility of differences in the mutational status of EGFR, KRAS, BRAF between primary tumors and corresponding lymph node metastases should be considered whenever these mutations are used for the selection of patients for EGFR-directed tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Comparative Genomic Hybridization
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genes, ras / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf / genetics*


  • EGFR protein, human
  • ErbB Receptors
  • BRAF protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf