TUMOR BIOLOGY, vol.35, no.2, pp.1041-1049, 2014 (SCI-Expanded)
We investigated predictive values of BRAF, PI3K and PTEN in cetuximab responses in KRAS wild-type (+) chemotherapy refractory, metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. Primary tumour tissues of 41 KRAS wild-type mCRC patients receiving cetuximab-based chemotherapy were investigated for PI3K, PTEN, KRAS and BRAF mutations. Progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) periods were calculated with Kaplan-Meier method and the Cox proportional hazards model was used. PTEN and PI3K expressions were 63 and 42 %, respectively. BRAF mutation was observed as 9.8 % among patients. Tumours with BRAF mutation had statistically lower response rates (RR) for cetuximab-based treatment than tumours with BRAF wild type (0 vs. 58 %, p = 0.02). PTEN expressing tumours had statistically higher RR for cetuximab-based treatment than tumours with PTEN loss (42 vs. 12 %, p = 0.04). PI3K expression had worse significant effect on cetuximab RR than PI3K non-expressed tumours (15 vs. 44 %, p = 0.023). Median PFS was significantly longer in patients with PTEN expression (14 months) than in patients with PTEN loss (5 months) (HR, 0.4; p = 0.028). Median PFS was significantly longer in patients with PI3K non-expression (15.2 months) than in patients with PI3K expression (4.1 months) (HR, 0.31; p = 0.001). Significant difference in PFS and OS between patients with BRAF mutated and BRAF wild-type tumours was not detected. However, patients with PTEN expression had significantly longer OS (15.1 months) than patients with PTEN loss tumour (9.9 months) (HR, 0.34; p = 0.008). Patients without PI3K expression had significantly longer OS (18.2 months) than patients with PI3K expression (10.1 months) (HR, 0.27; p = 0.001). Multivariate analyses revealed that PTEN expression (HR, 0.48; p = 0.02) and absence of PI3K expression (HR, 0.2; p = 0.001) were independent prognostic factors for increased PFS. Similarly, PTEN overexpression (HR, 0.62; p = 0.03) and absence of PI3K expression (HR, 0.27; p = 0.005) were independent prognostic factors for increased OS. In PTEN loss, PI3K expression may be used as biomarkers to further select KRAS wild-type patients undergoing anti-epidermal growth factor receptor treatment.