Functional EGFR germline polymorphisms may confer risk for EGFR somatic mutations in non-small cell lung cancer, with a predominant effect on exon 19 microdeletions

Cancer Res. 2011 Apr 1;71(7):2423-7. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-2689. Epub 2011 Feb 3.


Somatic mutations in the EGFR tyrosine kinase domain play a critical role in the development and treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Strong genetic influence on susceptibility to these mutations has been suggested. To identify the genetic factors conferring risk for the EGFR tyrosine kinase mutations in NSCLC, a case-control study was conducted in 141 Taiwanese NSCLC patients by focusing on three functional polymorphisms in the EGFR gene [-216G/T, intron 1 (CA)n, and R497K]. Allelic imbalance of the EGFR -216G/T polymorphism was also tested in the heterozygous patients and in the NCI-60 cancer cell lines to further verify its function. We found that the frequencies of the alleles -216T and CA-19 are significantly higher in the patients with any mutation (P = 0.032 and 0.01, respectively), in particular in those with exon 19 microdeletions (P = 0.006 and 0.033, respectively), but not in the patients with L858R mutation. The -216T allele is favored to be amplified in both tumor DNA of lung cancer patients and cancer cell lines. We conclude that the local haplotype structures across the EGFR gene may favor the development of cellular malignancies and thus significantly confer risk to the occurrence of EGFR mutations in NSCLC, particularly the exon 19 microdeletions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Allelic Imbalance
  • Asian People / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / enzymology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / ethnology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics*
  • Exons
  • Gene Deletion
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Germ-Line Mutation*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Lung Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Taiwan


  • ErbB Receptors