Background: Somatic mutations in EGFR and K-RAS may predict for sensitivity and resistance to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Whether EGFR and K-RAS mutations could also predict clinical outcome of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients following front-line chemotherapy has not yet been established.
Patients and methods: One hundred and sixty-two chemotherapy-naïve patients with locally advanced/metastatic NSCLC who received front-line chemotherapy were included in this retrospective study and their clinical outcome data was analyzed according to EGFR and K-RAS mutation status of their tumors.
Results: Classical activating EGFR and K-RAS mutations were found in 8.2 and 22.6% of patients respectively and were not associated with patients' clinicopathological characteristics. Patients with classical EGFR mutations had a higher probability of response to front-line chemotherapy as compared to those with wild type EGFR (p=0.023). Multivariate analysis showed that the presence of activating EGFR mutations was an independent factor associated with response to front-line chemotherapy (HR=4.85; 95% CI: 1.13-20.83, p=0.034). K-RAS mutation status was not associated with response to front-line chemotherapy. The presence of activating EGFR but not of K-RAS mutations was associated with a significantly higher overall survival compared to patients without mutations treated with platinum-based front-line chemotherapy (p=0.043).
Conclusions: The data indicate that EGFR mutation status could be predictive for response to cytotoxic front-line chemotherapy in patients with NSCLC. Additional prospective studies are needed in order to validate this observation and to define whether these patients should be preferentially treated with front-line TKIs or chemotherapy.
Copyright 2009 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.