Colorectal tumors that are wild-type (WT) for KRAS are often sensitive to EGFR blockade, but almost always develop resistance within several months of initiating therapy 1, 2 . The mechanisms underlying this acquired resistance to anti-EGFR antibodies are largely unknown. This situation stands in marked contrast to that of small molecule targeted agents, such as inhibitors of ABL, EGFR, BRAF, and MEK, in which mutations in the genes encoding the protein targets render the tumors resistant to the effects of the drugs 3– 6 . The simplest hypothesis to account for the development of resistance to EGFR blockade are that rare cells with KRAS mutations pre-exist at low levels in tumors with ostensibly WT KRAS genes. Though this hypothesis would seem readily testable, there is no evidence in pre-clinical models to support it, nor is there data from patients. To test this hypothesis, we determined whether mutant KRAS DNA could be detected in the circulation of 28 patients receiving monotherapy with panitumumab, a therapeutic anti-EGFR antibody. We found that nine of 24 (38%) patients whose tumors were initially KRAS WT developed detectable mutations in KRAS in their sera, three of which developed multiple different KRAS mutations. The appearance of these mutations was very consistent, generally occurring between five to six months following treatment. Mathematical modeling indicated that the mutations were present in expanded subclones prior to the initiation of panitumumab. These results suggest that the emergence of KRAS mutations is a mediator of acquired resistance to EGFR blockade and that these mutations can be detected in a non-invasive manner. Moreover, they explain why solid tumors develop resistance to targeted therapies in a highly reproducible fashion.