Clinical Relevance of KRAS-Mutated Subclones Detected with Picodroplet Digital PCR in Advanced Colorectal Cancer Treated with Anti-EGFR Therapy

Abstract : PURPOSE: KRAS mutations are predictive of nonresponse to anti-EGFR therapies in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). However, only 50% of nonmutated patients benefit from them. KRAS-mutated subclonal populations nondetectable by conventional methods have been suggested as the cause of early progression. Molecular analysis technology with high sensitivity and precision is required to test this hypothesis. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: From two cohorts of patients with mCRC, 136 KRAS, NRAS, and BRAF wild-type tumors with sufficient tumor material to perform highly sensitive picodroplet digital PCR (dPCR) and 41 KRAS-mutated tumors were selected. All these patients were treated by anti-EGFR therapy. dPCR was used for KRAS or BRAF mutation screening and compared with qPCR. Progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were analyzed according to the KRAS-mutated allele fraction. RESULTS: In addition to the confirmation of the 41 patients with KRAS-mutated tumors, dPCR also identified KRAS mutations in 22 samples considered as KRAS wild-type by qPCR. The fraction of KRAS-mutated allele quantified by dPCR was inversely correlated with anti-EGFR therapy response rate (P < 0.001). In a Cox model, the fraction of KRAS-mutated allele was associated with worse PFS and OS. Patients with less than 1% of mutant KRAS allele have similar PFS and OS than those with wild-type KRAS tumors. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that patients with mCRC with KRAS-mutated subclones (at least those with a KRAS-mutated subclones fraction lower or equal to 1%) had a benefit from anti-EGFR therapies.
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P. Laurent-Puig, D. Pekin, C. Normand, S. Kotsopoulos, P. Nizard, et al.. Clinical Relevance of KRAS-Mutated Subclones Detected with Picodroplet Digital PCR in Advanced Colorectal Cancer Treated with Anti-EGFR Therapy. Clinical Cancer Research, American Association for Cancer Research, 2015, 21 (5), pp.1087-1097. ⟨10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-14-0983⟩. ⟨inserm-02299577⟩

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