Context: - Recurrent epidermal growth factor receptor ( EGFR) mutations are seen in a subset of pulmonary adenocarcinomas. These mutations are targeted by EGFR inhibitors and are a biomarker for response to EGFR inhibitor therapies. Initial data have indicated an increased frequency of activating EGFR mutations in nonsmoking Asian females. However, there are very few studies of global scope that address the question of mutation distribution across the population of lung cancer.
Objective: - To determine the frequency of EGFR mutations in exons 18 through 21 detected in clinical laboratories participating in the College of American Pathologists proficiency testing program for EGFR in calendar year 2013.
Design: - We reviewed the surveys from 170 clinical laboratories from 20 countries that participated in the College of American Pathologists EGFR proficiency testing program. The proficiency testing includes questions regarding the total numbers of tests performed at each common mutation site, including both activating and resistance mutations, and their frequency. Countries were grouped into regional groups in order to assess frequency of mutation by type, and to indirectly assess ethnic differences in mutation frequencies.
Results: - Among the treatment-sensitive activating mutations, the most common are exon 19 mutations (n = 10 802 of 136 533 cases; 7.9% of total cases tested) and the exon 21 L858R mutation (n = 10 351 of 136 533 cases; 7.6% of total cases tested) and the least common are exon 20 mutations (n = 466 of 136 533 cases; 0.3% of total cases tested). The T790M mutation in exon 20 is the more common resistance mutation (n = 1010 of 136 533 cases; 0.7% of all cases tested). The highest activating mutation frequency is seen in southern Asia (n = 4260 of 9337 cases; 46%) and the lowest activating mutation frequencies are in South and North America (n = 113 of 1439 cases and 7926 of 86 654 cases; 8% and 9%, respectively).
Conclusions: - Our data confirm that activating EGFR mutations are more common in southern Asia and that the distribution of activating EGFR mutations varies significantly across the regions. Similarly, the frequency and distribution of resistance mutations also show significant variation when comparing southern Asia with other regions.