Retrospective Analysis of Treatment Pathways in Patients With BRAFV600E-mutant Metastatic Colorectal Carcinoma - MORSECRC

Anticancer Res. 2022 Oct;42(10):4773-4785. doi: 10.21873/anticanres.15982.


Background/aim: Metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) is a heterogeneous disease with distinct molecular subtypes. The BRAFV600E-mutation found in approximately 8-12% of mCRC patients is associated with poor prognosis. Guideline recommendations for this population are mostly based on small cohorts due to lack of clinical data. This retrospective analysis was designed to evaluate (approved) therapeutic approaches and algorithms in BRAFV600E-mutant mCRC prior to approval of the targeted combination encorafenib plus cetuximab in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Patients and methods: Anonymized data from BRAFV600E-mutant mCRC patients were analyzed retrospectively regarding 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-line treatment using descriptive statistics.

Results: Forty-two patients were eligible for analysis (mean age 62.1 years, 47.6% female). At initial diagnosis, 20 patients (47.6%) were documented with right-sided tumors. Most patients (81.0%) were tested for BRAF before 1st-line. Four patients (9.5%) showed high microsatellite instability (MSI-H). Based on 94 treatment lines, chemotherapy combined with targeted therapy (TT) was used mostly (61.7%), followed by chemotherapy alone (19.1%). Backbone therapies were most frequently FOLFOXIRI (27.7%), FOLFOX/CAPOX (22.3%), or FOLFIRI (20.2%). Anti-VEGF/VEGFR and anti-EGFR-treatments were used in 45.7% and 23.4% of patients, respectively. Across all treatment lines and types, the predominantly documented reason for discontinuation was lack of efficacy.

Conclusion: Combined chemotherapy+TT (anti-VEGF/VEGFR and anti-EGFR) played a predominant role in BRAFV600E-mutated mCRC treatment prior to approval of the targeted combination encorafenib plus cetuximab. Since lack of efficacy was the major reason for treatment discontinuation, newly approved therapies including encorafenib plus cetuximab and - for MSI-H tumors - pembrolizumab represent urgently needed options for future mCRC patients.

Keywords: Austria; Chemotherapy; Germany; Switzerland; disease characteristics; targeted therapy; treatment reality.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Carbamates
  • Cetuximab / therapeutic use
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microsatellite Instability
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf* / genetics
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sulfonamides


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Carbamates
  • Sulfonamides
  • encorafenib
  • BRAF protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf
  • Cetuximab