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Efficacy of first-line systemic treatment in correlation with BRAF V600E and different KRAS mutations in metastatic colorectal cancer – a single institution retrospective analysis

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      BackgroundKRAS mutation status in codons 12 and 13 is recognized as a predictive factor for resistance to anti-EGFR monoclonal antibodies. Despite having a wild type KRAS (wt-KRAS), not all patients with wt-KRAS respond to anti-EGFR antibody treatment. Additional mechanisms of resistance may activate mutations of the other main EGFR effectors pathway. Consequently, other molecular markers in colorectal cancer are needed to be evaluated to predict the response to therapy.Patients and methodsIn this retrospective study, objective responses (OR), time to progression (TTP), overall survival (OS) were analyzed in 176 metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients treated with first-line chemotherapy in combination with monoclonal antibodies in respect of KRAS status in codons 12 and 13 and BRAF mutational status.ResultsThe KRAS mutations were found in 63 patients (35.8 %), the KRAS mutation in codon 12 in 53 patients (30.1%) and the KRAS mutation in codon 13 in 10 patients (5.7%). The BRAF V600E mutation was detected in 13 of 176 patients (7.4%). In the subgroup of mCRC patients having wt-KRAS and wild type BRAF (wt-BRAF), the objective response rates were higher (OR 54.0% ,CR 14.7%, PR 39.3%) than in the patients with wt-KRAS and mt-BRAF (OR 38.5%,CR 15.4%, PR 23.1%), the difference was not statistically significant (p= 0.378). Median OS in patients with wt-KRAS wt-BRAF, and in patients with wt-KRAS mt-BRAF, was 107.4 months and 45 months, respectively. The difference was statistically significant (p= 0.042). TTP in patients with wt-KRAS wt-BRAF, and in patients with wt-KRAS mt-BRAF, was 16 months and 12 months, respectively. The difference was not statistically significant (p= 0.558).ConclusionsPatients with BRAF V600E mutation have statistically significantly worse prognosis than the patients with wt-BRAF and progress earlier during treatment. The definitive role of the BRAF V600E mutation as a prognostic and predictive factor for the response to anti-EGFR monoclonal antibodies needs to be analyzed in large prospective clinical studies.

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      Assessment of the change in tumour burden is an important feature of the clinical evaluation of cancer therapeutics: both tumour shrinkage (objective response) and disease progression are useful endpoints in clinical trials. Since RECIST was published in 2000, many investigators, cooperative groups, industry and government authorities have adopted these criteria in the assessment of treatment outcomes. However, a number of questions and issues have arisen which have led to the development of a revised RECIST guideline (version 1.1). Evidence for changes, summarised in separate papers in this special issue, has come from assessment of a large data warehouse (>6500 patients), simulation studies and literature reviews. HIGHLIGHTS OF REVISED RECIST 1.1: Major changes include: Number of lesions to be assessed: based on evidence from numerous trial databases merged into a data warehouse for analysis purposes, the number of lesions required to assess tumour burden for response determination has been reduced from a maximum of 10 to a maximum of five total (and from five to two per organ, maximum). Assessment of pathological lymph nodes is now incorporated: nodes with a short axis of 15 mm are considered measurable and assessable as target lesions. The short axis measurement should be included in the sum of lesions in calculation of tumour response. Nodes that shrink to <10mm short axis are considered normal. Confirmation of response is required for trials with response primary endpoint but is no longer required in randomised studies since the control arm serves as appropriate means of interpretation of data. Disease progression is clarified in several aspects: in addition to the previous definition of progression in target disease of 20% increase in sum, a 5mm absolute increase is now required as well to guard against over calling PD when the total sum is very small. Furthermore, there is guidance offered on what constitutes 'unequivocal progression' of non-measurable/non-target disease, a source of confusion in the original RECIST guideline. Finally, a section on detection of new lesions, including the interpretation of FDG-PET scan assessment is included. Imaging guidance: the revised RECIST includes a new imaging appendix with updated recommendations on the optimal anatomical assessment of lesions. A key question considered by the RECIST Working Group in developing RECIST 1.1 was whether it was appropriate to move from anatomic unidimensional assessment of tumour burden to either volumetric anatomical assessment or to functional assessment with PET or MRI. It was concluded that, at present, there is not sufficient standardisation or evidence to abandon anatomical assessment of tumour burden. The only exception to this is in the use of FDG-PET imaging as an adjunct to determination of progression. As is detailed in the final paper in this special issue, the use of these promising newer approaches requires appropriate clinical validation studies.
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        We investigated the efficacy of cetuximab plus irinotecan, fluorouracil, and leucovorin (FOLFIRI) as first-line treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer and sought associations between the mutation status of the KRAS gene in tumors and clinical response to cetuximab. We randomly assigned patients with epidermal growth factor receptor-positive colorectal cancer with unresectable metastases to receive FOLFIRI either alone or in combination with cetuximab. The primary end point was progression-free survival. A total of 599 patients received cetuximab plus FOLFIRI, and 599 received FOLFIRI alone. The hazard ratio for progression-free survival in the cetuximab-FOLFIRI group as compared with the FOLFIRI group was 0.85 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.72 to 0.99; P=0.048). There was no significant difference in the overall survival between the two treatment groups (hazard ratio, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.81 to 1.07; P=0.31). There was a significant interaction between treatment group and KRAS mutation status for tumor response (P=0.03) but not for progression-free survival (P=0.07) or overall survival (P=0.44). The hazard ratio for progression-free survival among patients with wild-type-KRAS tumors was 0.68 (95% CI, 0.50 to 0.94), in favor of the cetuximab-FOLFIRI group. The following grade 3 or 4 adverse events were more frequent with cetuximab plus FOLFIRI than with FOLFIRI alone: skin reactions (which were grade 3 only) (in 19.7% vs. 0.2% of patients, P<0.001), infusion-related reactions (in 2.5% vs. 0%, P<0.001), and diarrhea (in 15.7% vs. 10.5%, P=0.008). First-line treatment with cetuximab plus FOLFIRI, as compared with FOLFIRI alone, reduced the risk of progression of metastatic colorectal cancer. The benefit of cetuximab was limited to patients with KRAS wild-type tumors. ( number, NCT00154102.) 2009 Massachusetts Medical Society
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          Wild-type KRAS is required for panitumumab efficacy in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.

          Panitumumab, a fully human antibody against the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), has activity in a subset of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). Although activating mutations in KRAS, a small G-protein downstream of EGFR, correlate with poor response to anti-EGFR antibodies in mCRC, their role as a selection marker has not been established in randomized trials. KRAS mutations were detected using polymerase chain reaction on DNA from tumor sections collected in a phase III mCRC trial comparing panitumumab monotherapy to best supportive care (BSC). We tested whether the effect of panitumumab on progression-free survival (PFS) differed by KRAS status. KRAS status was ascertained in 427 (92%) of 463 patients (208 panitumumab, 219 BSC). KRAS mutations were found in 43% of patients. The treatment effect on PFS in the wild-type (WT) KRAS group (hazard ratio [HR], 0.45; 95% CI: 0.34 to 0.59) was significantly greater (P < .0001) than in the mutant group (HR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.73 to 1.36). Median PFS in the WT KRAS group was 12.3 weeks for panitumumab and 7.3 weeks for BSC. Response rates to panitumumab were 17% and 0%, for the WT and mutant groups, respectively. WT KRAS patients had longer overall survival (HR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.55 to 0.82; treatment arms combined). Consistent with longer exposure, more grade III treatment-related toxicities occurred in the WT KRAS group. No significant differences in toxicity were observed between the WT KRAS group and the overall population. Panitumumab monotherapy efficacy in mCRC is confined to patients with WT KRAS tumors. KRAS status should be considered in selecting patients with mCRC as candidates for panitumumab monotherapy.

            Author and article information

            [1 ] Department of Medical Oncology
            [2 ] Department of Molecular Diagnostics, Institute of Oncology Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
            Author notes
            Correspondence to: Martina Reberšek, Department of Medical Oncology, Institute of Oncology Ljubljana, Zaloška 2, 1000 Ljubljana Slovenia. Phone: +386 1 5879 220; Fax: +3861 5879 400; E-mail: mrebersek@

            Disclosure: No potential conflicts of interest were disclosed.

            Radiol Oncol
            Radiol Oncol
            Radiology and Oncology
            Versita, Warsaw
            December 2011
            16 November 2011
            : 45
            : 4
            : 285-291
            Copyright © by Association of Radiology & Oncology

            This article is an open-access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (

            Research Article

            Oncology & Radiotherapy

            metastatic colorectal cancer, kras, braf, prognostic factors


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