Oncogenic mutations as predictive factors in colorectal cancer

Oncogene. 2010 May 27;29(21):3033-43. doi: 10.1038/onc.2010.89. Epub 2010 Apr 12.


The anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (anti-EGFR) monoclonal antibodies cetuximab and panitumumab have been demonstrated to be new therapeutic options for metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). Oncogenic activation of intracellular signalling pathways downstream of EGFR has a major role in colorectal carcinogenesis but has also been reported to be an important mechanism of resistance to anti-EGFR antibodies. Among the activating mutations found in colorectal cancers, tumour KRAS mutations, which are found in approximately 40% of the cases, have been widely demonstrated as a major predictive marker of resistance to cetuximab or panitumumab, therefore, opening the way to individualized treatment for patients with mCRC. Other oncogenic mutations, such as BRAF or PIK3CA mutations or loss of PTEN expression, may also be additional interesting predictive markers of response to anti-EGFR monoclonal antibodies but required further evaluation before being incorporated in clinical practice. The identification of these molecular markers involved in the resistance of anti-EGFR antibodies will allow the development of new therapies that should target 'escape mechanisms' used by tumours to circumvent a pathway that has been pharmacologically blocked by anti-EGFR.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Cetuximab
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • ErbB Receptors / immunology
  • Humans
  • Mutation*
  • Oncogenes / genetics*
  • Panitumumab
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / genetics
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Panitumumab
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Cetuximab