Background: We address the prognostic and predictive value of KRAS, PIK3CA and BRAF mutations for clinical outcomes in response to active agents in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).
Methods: We determined KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA mutations in tumours from 168 patients treated for mCRC at two institutions. All patients received 5-FU-based first-line chemotherapy and treatment outcome was analysed retrospectively.
Results: KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA mutations were present in 62 (37%), 13 (8%) and 26 (15%) cases, respectively. Multivariate analysis uncovered BRAF mutation as an independent prognostic factor for decreased survival (hazard ratio (HR) 4.0, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.1-7.6). In addition, patients with BRAF-mutant tumours had significantly lower progression-free survival (PFS: HR 4.0, 95% CI 2.2-7.4) than those whose tumors that carried wild-type BRAF. Among 92 patients treated using chemotherapy and cetuximab as salvage therapy, KRAS mutation was associated with lack of response (P=0.002) and shorter PFS (P=0.09). BRAF (P=0.0005) and PIK3CA (P=0.01) mutations also predicted reduced PFS in response to cetuximab salvage therapy.
Conclusions: These results underscore the potential of mutational profiling to identify CRCs with different natural histories or treatment responses. The adverse significance of BRAF mutation should inform patient selection and stratification in clinical trials.