An important molecular target for metastatic CRC treatment is the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Many potential biomarkers predictive of response to anti-EGFR monoclonal antibodies (cetuximab and panitumumab) have been retrospectively evaluated, including EGFR activation markers and EGFR ligands activation markers. With regard to the "negative predictive factors" responsible for primary or intrinsic resistance to anti-EGFR antibodies a lot of data are now available. Among these, KRAS mutations have emerged as a major predictor of resistance to panitumumab or cetuximab in the clinical setting and several studies of patients receiving first and subsequent lines of treatment have shown that those with tumors carrying KRAS mutations do not respond to EGFR-targeted monoclonal antibodies or show any survival benefit from such treatments. The role of B-RAF mutations, mutually exclusive with KRAS mutations, in predicting resistance to anti-EGFR mAbs is not yet consolidated. It therefore appears that BRAF mutations may play a strong negative prognostic role and only a slight role in resistance to anti-EGFR Abs.
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