Background: Lung adenocarcinoma (LADCA) patients with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations are in general associated with relatively high clinical response rate to EGFR-tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) but not all responded to TKI. It has therefore become important to identify the additional surrogate markers regarding EGFR-TKI sensitivity.
Methods: We first examined the effects of EGFR-TKIs, gefitinib and erlotinib, upon cell proliferation of lung adenocarcinoma cell lines. We then evaluated the gene profiles related to EGFR-TKI sensitivity using a microarray analysis. Results of microarray analysis led us to focus on carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule (CEACAM) family, CEACAM 3, 5, 6, 7, and 19, as potential further surrogate markers of EGFR-TKI sensitivity. We then examined the correlation between the status of CEACAM 3, 5, 6, 7, and 19 immunoreactivity in LADCA and clinicopathological parameters of individual cases.
Results: In the cases with EGFR mutations, the status of all CEACAMs examined was significantly higher than that in EGFR wild-type patients, but there were no significant differences in the status of CEACAMs between TKI responder and nonresponder among 22 patients who received gefitinib therapy. However, among 115 EGFR mutation-negative LADCA patients, both CEACAM6 and CEACAM3 were significantly associated with adverse clinical outcome (CEACAM6) and better clinical outcome (CEACAM3).
Conclusion: CEACAMs examined in this study could be related to the presence of EGFR mutation in adenocarcinoma cells but not represent the effective surrogate marker of EGFR-TKI in LADCA patients. However, immunohistochemical evaluation of CEACAM3/6 in LADCA patients could provide important information on their clinical outcome.