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J Clin Oncol. 2007 Sep 1;25(25):3930-5.

Nuclear factor-kB tumor expression predicts response and survival in irinotecan-refractory metastatic colorectal cancer treated with cetuximab-irinotecan therapy.

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Clinica di Oncologia Medica and Anatomia Patologica, Azienda Ospedaliera Ospedali Riuniti, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy.



NF-kB expression has been shown to be responsible for resistance to antineoplastic agents and it also plays a part in the activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor downstream signaling pathway in colorectal tumors. The aim of our analysis was to investigate a correlation between NF-kB expression, response rate, time to progression, and survival in advanced colorectal cancer patients receiving cetuximab and irinotecan.


We analyzed retrospectively the immunoreactivity for NF-kB in irinotecan-refractory patients receiving cetuximab and irinotecan. Results Seventy-six patients were analyzed. Cetuximab and irinotecan were administered as second-line chemotherapy in 19 patients and after > or = two lines of chemotherapy in the remaining 57 patients. We observed a partial response (PR) in 16 patients for an overall response rate of 24%. Thirty-two patients (48%) experienced progressive disease; median time to progression (TTP) was 3.6 months and median overall survival was 10.3 months. NF-kB was positive in 46 patients (60%). All main clinical characteristics were well balanced between NF-kB-positive and NF-kB-negative patients. The response rate was 10% (four PRs) versus 48% (12 PRs; P = .0007) in NF-kB-positive and NF-kB-negative tumors, respectively. Median TTP in NF-kB-positive patients was 3 v 6.4 months in the remaining patients (P = .021). Median overall survival was 9.5 v 15.8 months for NF-kB-positive and NF-kB-negative patients, respectively (P = .036)


The difference in median TTP, overall survival, and response rate seem to confirm that NF-kB may play a crucial role in predicting the efficacy of cetuximab and irinotecan in advanced colorectal tumors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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