Early Detection Research Network

Epidermal growth factor receptor messenger RNA expression, gene dosage, and gefitinib sensitivity in non-small cell lung cancer.

Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mRNA expression and EGFR gene dosage by quantitative PCR in tumor samples obtained from patients with gefitinib-treated non-small cell lung cancer were analyzed in order to determine the association with treatment outcome, clinical, and biological features [EGFR copy number by fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH), EGFR tyrosine kinase mutations, and EGFR protein expression].

EGFR mRNA expression was measured by real-time quantitative reverse transcription-PCR in 64 patients, and EGFR gene dosage was analyzed by real-time quantitative PCR in 82 patients from paraffin-embedded specimens.

EGFR mRNA expression was higher in responders to gefitinib as compared with nonresponders (P = 0.012). Patients with high EGFR mRNA expression (>5.01) had 43% response probability, whereas patients with low EGFR mRNA expression had 8% response probability (P = 0.006). Patients with high EGFR mRNA expression had longer median progression-free (5.3 versus 2.8 months, P = 0.028) but not overall survival (13.8 versus 10.9 months, P = 0.87). EGFR mRNA expression was higher in FISH-positive patients (P = 0.001) and in patients with positive EGFR immunostaining (P < 0.001) but not in patients with EGFR mutations (P = 0.19). EGFR gene dosage did not predict response (P = 0.54), progression-free (P = 0.73), or overall survival (P = 0.89). EGFR gene dosage was not associated with FISH positivity (P = 0.15), relative mRNA expression (P = 0.27), EGFR mutation status (P = 0.39), and EGFR protein expression (P = 0.35).

EGFR mRNA expression is a predictive biomarker for response to gefitinib and to progression-free survival after gefitinib treatment. EGFR gene dosage is neither predictive for response nor progression-free nor overall survival.

Barón AE, Bunn PA, Cappuzzo F, Crino L, Danenberg KD, Danenberg PV, Dziadziuszko R, Franklin WA, Hirsch FR, Park S, Tanaka K, Varella-Garcia M, Witta SE

16707605

Clin. Cancer Res., 2006, 12 (10)