Gene Expression Signatures Predictive of Bevacizumab/Erlotinib Therapeutic Benefit in Advanced Nonsquamous Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients (SAKK 19/05 trial)

Clin Cancer Res. 2015 Dec 1;21(23):5253-63. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-14-3135. Epub 2015 Apr 28.


Purpose: We aimed to identify gene expression signatures associated with angiogenesis and hypoxia pathways with predictive value for treatment response to bevacizumab/erlotinib (BE) of nonsquamous advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients.

Experimental design: Whole-genome gene expression profiling was performed on 42 biopsy samples (from SAKK 19/05 trial) using Affymetrix exon arrays, and associations with the following endpoints: time-to-progression (TTP) under therapy, tumor-shrinkage (TS), and overall survival (OS) were investigated. Next, we performed gene set enrichment analyses using genes associated with the angiogenic process and hypoxia response to evaluate their predictive value for patients' outcome.

Results: Our analysis revealed that both the angiogenic and hypoxia response signatures were enriched within the genes predictive of BE response, TS, and OS. Higher gene expression levels (GEL) of the 10-gene angiogenesis-associated signature and lower levels of the 10-gene hypoxia response signature predicted improved TTP under BE, 7.1 months versus 2.1 months for low versus high-risk patients (P = 0.005), and median TTP 6.9 months versus 2.9 months (P = 0.016), respectively. The hypoxia response signature associated with higher TS at 12 weeks and improved OS (17.8 months vs. 9.9 months for low vs. high-risk patients, P = 0.001).

Conclusions: We were able to identify gene expression signatures derived from the angiogenesis and hypoxia response pathways with predictive value for clinical outcome in advanced nonsquamous NSCLC patients. This could lead to the identification of clinically relevant biomarkers, which will allow for selecting the subset of patients who benefit from the treatment and predict drug response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Bevacizumab / administration & dosage
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Biopsy
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Erlotinib Hydrochloride / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / genetics
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / drug therapy
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / genetics
  • Prognosis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Transcriptome*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Bevacizumab
  • Erlotinib Hydrochloride