Changes in plasma mass-spectral profile in course of treatment of non-small cell lung cancer patients with epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors

J Thorac Oncol. 2012 Jan;7(1):40-8. doi: 10.1097/JTO.0b013e3182307f17.


Introduction: Our previous study showed that pretreatment serum or plasma Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry may predict clinical outcome of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients treated with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). In this study, plasma proteomic profiles of NSCLC patients were evaluated in the course of EGFR TKIs therapy.

Materials and methods: Plasma samples were collected at baseline, in the course of gefitinib therapy and at treatment withdrawal. Samples were analyzed by Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry. Acquired spectra were classified by the VeriStrat test into "good" and "poor" profiles. The association between VeriStrat classification and progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS), and types of clinical progression, was analyzed.

Results: Plasma samples from 111 NSCLC patients treated with gefitinib were processed. VeriStrat "good" classification at baseline correlated with longer PFS (hazard ratio [HR], 0.54; 95% confidence interval, 0.35-0.83; p = 0.005) and OS (HR, 0.40; 95% confidence interval, 0.26-0.61; p < 0.0001), when compared with VeriStrat "poor." Multivariate analysis confirmed longer PFS (HR, 0.52; p = 0.025) and OS (HR, 0.44; p = 0.001) in patients classified as VeriStrat "good", when VeriStrat was considered as a time-dependent variable. About one-third of baseline "good" classifications had changed to "poor" at the time of treatment withdrawal; progression in these patients was associated with the development of new lesions.

Conclusions: Our findings support the role of VeriStrat in the assistance in treatment selection of NSCLC patients for EGFR TKI therapy and its potential utility in treatment monitoring.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Proteins / analysis
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / blood*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Disease Progression
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • ErbB Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics
  • Female
  • Gefitinib
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Lung Neoplasms / blood*
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Quinazolines / therapeutic use*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization


  • Blood Proteins
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Quinazolines
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Gefitinib