Negative hyper-selection of metastatic colorectal cancer patients for anti-EGFR monoclonal antibodies: the PRESSING case-control study

Ann Oncol. 2017 Dec 1;28(12):3009-3014. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdx546.


Background: Refining the selection of metastatic colorectal cancer patients candidates for anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) monoclonal antibodies beyond RAS and BRAF testing is a challenge of precision oncology. Several uncommon genomic mechanisms of primary resistance, leading to activation of tyrosine kinase receptors other than EGFR or downstream signalling pathways, have been suggested by preclinical and retrospective studies.

Patients and methods: We conducted this multicentre, prospective, case-control study to demonstrate the negative predictive impact of a panel of rare genomic alterations [PRESSING (PRimary rESiStance IN RAS and BRAF wild-type metastatic colorectal cancer patients treated with anti-eGfr monoclonal antibodies) panel], including HER2/MET amplifications, ALK/ROS1/NTRK1-3/RET fusions and PIK3CA mutations. Hypothesizing a prevalence of candidate alterations of 15% and 0% in resistant and sensitive RAS and BRAF wild-type patients, respectively, with two-sided α and β errors of 0.05 and 0.20, 47 patients per group were needed.

Results: Forty-seven patients per group were included. PRESSING panel alterations were significantly more frequent in resistant (24 out of 47, 51.1%) than in sensitive (1 out of 47, 2.1%) patients (P < 0.001) and in right- (12 out of 29, 41.4%) than left-sided (13 out of 65, 20.0%) tumours (P = 0.03). The predictive accuracy of PRESSING panel and sidedness was 75.3% and 70.2%, respectively. Among hyper-selected patients, right-sidedness was still associated with resistance (P = 0.002). The predictive accuracy of the combined evaluation of PRESSING panel and sidedness was 80.4%. As a secondary analysis, 8 (17.0%) resistant and 0 sensitive patients showed microsatellite instability (P < 0.001).

Conclusion: The investigated panel of genomic alterations allows refining the selection of RAS and BRAF wild-type metastatic colorectal cancer patients candidates for anti-EGFRs, partially explaining and further corroborating the predictive ability of primary tumour sidedness.

Keywords: anti-EGFR monoclonal antibodies; case–control study; genomic alterations; predictive factors.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / immunology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • ErbB Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • ErbB Receptors / immunology
  • Humans
  • Microsatellite Instability
  • Patient Selection
  • Prospective Studies
  • Survival Rate


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • EGFR protein, human
  • ErbB Receptors