Fluoropyrimidine type, patient age, tumour sidedness and mutation status as determinants of benefit in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer treated with EGFR monoclonal antibodies: individual patient data pooled analysis of randomised trials from the ARCAD database

Br J Cancer. 2024 May;130(8):1269-1278. doi: 10.1038/s41416-024-02604-y. Epub 2024 Feb 24.


Background: KRAS mutations in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) are used as predictive biomarkers to select therapy with EGFR monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). Other factors may be significant determinants of benefit.

Methods: Individual patient data from randomised trials with a head-to-head comparison between EGFR mAb versus no EGFR mAb (chemotherapy alone or best supportive care) in mCRC, across all lines of therapy, were pooled. Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were compared between groups. Treatment effects within the predefined KRAS biomarker subsets were estimated by adjusted hazard ratio (HRadj) and 95% confidence interval (CI). EGFR mAb efficacy was measured within the KRAS wild-type subgroup according to BRAF and NRAS mutation status. In both KRAS wild-type and mutant subgroups, additional factors that could impact EGFR mAb efficacy were explored including the type of chemotherapy, line of therapy, age, sex, tumour sidedness and site of metastasis.

Results: 5675 patients from 8 studies were included, all with known mCRC KRAS mutation status. OS (HRadj 0.90, 95% CI 0.84-0.98, p = 0.01) and PFS benefit (HRadj 0.73, 95% CI 0.68-0.79, p < 0.001) from EGFR mAbs was observed in the KRAS wild-type group. PFS benefit was seen in patients treated with fluorouracil (HRadj 0.75, 95% CI 0.68-0.82) but not with capecitabine-containing regimens (HRadj 1.04, 95% CI 0.86-1.26) (pinteraction = 0.002). Sidedness also interacted with EGFR mAb efficacy, with survival benefit restricted to left-sided disease (pinteraction = 0.038). PFS benefits differed according to age, with benefits greater in those under 70 (pinteraction = 0.001). The survival benefit was not demonstrated in those patients with mutations found in the KRAS, NRAS or BRAF genes. The presence of liver metastases interacted with EGFR mAb efficacy in patients with KRAS mutant mCRC (pinteraction = 0.004).

Conclusion: The benefit provided by EGFR mAbs in KRAS WT mCRC is associated with left-sided primary tumour location, younger patient age and absence of NRAS or BRAF mutations. Survival benefit is observed with fluorouracil but not capecitabine. Exploratory results support further research in KRAS mutant mCRC without liver metastases.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Cetuximab
  • Colonic Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / pathology
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics
  • Fluorouracil
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Mutation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras) / genetics
  • Rectal Neoplasms* / drug therapy


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • Fluorouracil
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Cetuximab
  • EGFR protein, human