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Br J Cancer. 2007 Mar 12;96(5):793-800. Epub 2007 Feb 20.

A simple and reproducible scoring system for EGFR in colorectal cancer: application to prognosis and prediction of response to preoperative brachytherapy.

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Department of Pathology, McGill University, Montreal, Québec, Canada.


The aim of this study was to determine the predictive and prognostic value of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression in rectal cancers treated with preoperative high-dose rate brachytherapy and in mismatch-repair (MMR)-proficient colorectal cancers (CRCs), respectively. We validate the use of receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis to select cutoff scores for EGFR overexpression for the end points studied. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) for EGFR was performed on 82 rectal tumour biopsies and 1197 MMR-proficient CRCs using a tissue microarray. Immunoreactivity was scored as the percentage of positive tumour cells by three pathologists and the inter-observer reliability was assessed. ROC curve-derived cutoffs were used to analyse the association of EGFR overexpression, tumour response and several clinicopathological features including survival. The scoring method was found to be reproducible in rectal cancer biopsies and CRCs. The selected cutoff scores from ROC curve analysis for each clinicopathological feature were highly consistent among pathologists. EGFR overexpression was associated with response to radiotherapy (P-value <0.001) and with worse survival time (P-value <0.001). In multivariate analysis, EGFR overexpression was independently associated with adverse prognosis (P-value <0.001). Epidermal growth factor receptor is a predictive marker of response to preoperative radiotherapy and an independent adverse prognostic factor CRC.

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