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Ann Oncol. 2006 Jul;17(7):1120-7. Epub 2006 Apr 6.

Insulin-like growth factor receptor 1 (IGFR-1) is significantly associated with longer survival in non-small-cell lung cancer patients treated with gefitinib.

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  • 1University of Colorado Cancer Center, Department of Medicine/Medical Oncology and Pathology, Aurora, USA.



The aim of the study was to assess whether loss of PTEN and expression of insulin-like growth factor receptor 1 (IGFR-1) could be responsible for intrinsic resistance to the tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) gefitinib.


One hundred and twenty-four gefitinib-treated patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) were analyzed for PTEN and IGFR-1 expression by immunohistochemistry.


IGFR-1 was evaluated in 77 patients and resulted positive in 30 (39.0%). IGFR-1 expression was not significantly associated with clinical or biological characteristics. No difference in response to gefitinib treatment (16.7% versus 12.8%, P = 0.74) and time to progression (2.6 versus 3.06 months, P = 0.83) was observed between IGFR-1+ and IGFR-1-. Median survival was significantly longer in IGFR-1+ patients (17.8 versus 7.3 months, P = 0.013). PTEN expression was successfully evaluated in 93 cases. Loss of PTEN was detected in 19 tumors (20.4%) and was not associated with any clinical or biological characteristic. No difference in terms of response, time to progression and survival was observed between PTEN+ and PTEN- patients. In multivariable analysis IGFR-1 negative status was significantly associated with higher risk of death (hazard ratio 2.21, P = 0.012).


IGFR-1 expression and loss of PTEN are not associated with intrinsic resistance to gefitinib. Clinical relevance of these two biomarkers as determinant for acquired resistance, and the prognostic role of IGFR-1 expression in patients not exposed to TKIs should be evaluated further.

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