A multicenter blinded study evaluating EGFR and KRAS mutation testing methods in the clinical non-small cell lung cancer setting--IFCT/ERMETIC2 Project Part 1: Comparison of testing methods in 20 French molecular genetic National Cancer Institute platforms

J Mol Diagn. 2014 Jan;16(1):45-55. doi: 10.1016/j.jmoldx.2013.07.009. Epub 2013 Oct 30.


Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-tyrosine kinase inhibitors have limited use as first-line treatment for mutated EGFR metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. The French National Cancer Institute has installed molecular genetics platforms implementing EGFR and KRAS testing. However, there is considerable uncertainty as to which detection methods should be applied for routine diagnosis. This study aimed to compare the EGFR and KRAS genotyping methods developed by the IFCT/ERMETIC2 network platforms in two blind panels: 25 samples of serial dilutions of cell line DNA (20 centers) and 74 FFPE lung tumor samples (10 centers). The best threshold of mutation detection on cell lines was obtained using allele-specific amplification-based technologies. Nonamplifiable tissue samples were significantly less common when using alternative testing versus direct sequencing [15%; 95% confidence interval (CI), 14%-16% versus 40%; 95% CI, 39%-42%; P < 0.001]. Mutated cases increased from 42% (95% CI, 31%-54%) to 53% (95% CI, 41%-64%), with three supplementary EGFR mutations (p.G179A at exon 18 and p.L858R and p.L861Q at exon 21) and five supplementary KRAS mutations, when using alternative testing instead of direct sequencing. False-positive results were observed when using a PCR-based sizing assay, high-resolution melting, or pyrosequencing. Concordance analysis returned good kappa test scores for EGFR exon 19 and KRAS analysis when comparing sequencing with alternative methods and revealed no difference between alternative techniques themselves.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnosis*
  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy
  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma of Lung
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Base Sequence
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • ErbB Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics*
  • Erlotinib Hydrochloride
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Gefitinib
  • Genotype
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / methods
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques / methods
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • Quinazolines / therapeutic use
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / methods*
  • ras Proteins / genetics*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • KRAS protein, human
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Quinazolines
  • Erlotinib Hydrochloride
  • EGFR protein, human
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • ras Proteins
  • Gefitinib