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K-ras mutations and benefit from cetuximab in advanced colorectal cancer.

The New England journal of medicine

antagonists & inhibitors, Adult, Receptor, Epidermal Growth Factor, Quality of Life, Palliative Care, Mutation, Middle Aged, Male, Kaplan-Meier Estimate, Humans, Genes, ras, Female, Disease Progression, DNA Mutational Analysis, mortality, genetics, drug therapy, Colorectal Neoplasms, therapeutic use, Antineoplastic Agents, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Aged, 80 and over, Aged, immunology

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      Abstract

      Treatment with cetuximab, a monoclonal antibody directed against the epidermal growth factor receptor, improves overall and progression-free survival and preserves the quality of life in patients with colorectal cancer that has not responded to chemotherapy. The mutation status of the K-ras gene in the tumor may affect the response to cetuximab and have treatment-independent prognostic value. We analyzed tumor samples, obtained from 394 of 572 patients (68.9%) with colorectal cancer who were randomly assigned to receive cetuximab plus best supportive care or best supportive care alone, to look for activating mutations in exon 2 of the K-ras gene. We assessed whether the mutation status of the K-ras gene was associated with survival in the cetuximab and supportive-care groups. Of the tumors evaluated for K-ras mutations, 42.3% had at least one mutation in exon 2 of the gene. The effectiveness of cetuximab was significantly associated with K-ras mutation status (P=0.01 and P<0.001 for the interaction of K-ras mutation status with overall survival and progression-free survival, respectively). In patients with wild-type K-ras tumors, treatment with cetuximab as compared with supportive care alone significantly improved overall survival (median, 9.5 vs. 4.8 months; hazard ratio for death, 0.55; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.41 to 0.74; P<0.001) and progression-free survival (median, 3.7 months vs. 1.9 months; hazard ratio for progression or death, 0.40; 95% CI, 0.30 to 0.54; P<0.001). Among patients with mutated K-ras tumors, there was no significant difference between those who were treated with cetuximab and those who received supportive care alone with respect to overall survival (hazard ratio, 0.98; P=0.89) or progression-free survival (hazard ratio, 0.99; P=0.96). In the group of patients receiving best supportive care alone, the mutation status of the K-ras gene was not significantly associated with overall survival (hazard ratio for death, 1.01; P=0.97). Patients with a colorectal tumor bearing mutated K-ras did not benefit from cetuximab, whereas patients with a tumor bearing wild-type K-ras did benefit from cetuximab. The mutation status of the K-ras gene had no influence on survival among patients treated with best supportive care alone. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00079066.) 2008 Massachusetts Medical Society

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      Journal
      10.1056/NEJMoa0804385
      18946061

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