Background: Lung adenocarcinoma patients with EGFR gene mutations have shown a dramatic response to gefitinib. However, drug resistance eventually emerges which limits the mean duration of response. With that in view, we examined the correlations between MET gene status as assessed by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) in adenocarcinoma patients with EGFR gene mutations who had received gefitinib therapy.
Methods: We evaluated 35 lung cancer samples with EGFR mutation from adenocarcinoma patients who had received gefitinib. Gene copy numbers (GCNs) and amplification of MET gene before gefitinib therapy was examined by FISH. MET protein expression was also evaluated by immunohistochemistry (IHC).
Results: FISH assessment showed that of the 35 adenocarcinoma samples, 10 patients (29%) exhibited high polysomy (5 copies≦mean MET per cell) and 1 patient (3%) exhibited amplification (2≦MET gene (red)/CEP7q (green) per cell). IHC evaluation of MET protein expression could not confirm MET high polysomy status. The Eleven patients with MET FISH positivity had significantly shorter progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) than the 24 patients who were MET FISH-negative (PFS: p = 0.001 and OS: p = 0.03). Median PFS and OS with MET FISH-positivity were 7.6 months and 16.8 months, respectively, whereas PFS and OS with MET FISH-negativity were 15.9 months and 33.0 months, respectively. Univariate analysis revealed that MET FISH-positivity was the most significant independent factor associated with a high risk of progression and death (hazard ratio, 3.83 (p = 0.0008) and 2.25 (p = 0.03), respectively).
Conclusions: Using FISH analysis to detect high polysomy and amplification of MET gene may be useful in predicting shortened PFS and OS after Gefitinib treatment in lung adenocarcinoma. The correlation between MET gene status and clinical outcomes for EGFR-TKI should be further evaluated using large scale samples.