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J Clin Oncol. 2010 Mar 1;28(7):1181-9. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2009.22.6043. Epub 2010 Jan 25.

Pharmacogenomic and pharmacoproteomic studies of cetuximab in metastatic colorectal cancer: biomarker analysis of a phase I dose-escalation study.

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Medical Oncology Department, Vall d'Hebron University Hospital, P. Vall d'Hebron, 119-129, 08035 Barcelona, Spain.



This study assessed biomarkers for cetuximab efficacy in tissue samples collected during a phase I dose-escalation study exploring every second week administration of cetuximab as first-line therapy in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).


Sixty-two patients received cetuximab monotherapy for 6 weeks, followed by cetuximab plus infusional fluorouracil, leucovorin, and irinotecan until disease progression. Patients in the control arm received cetuximab as a 400 mg/m(2) initial dose then 250 mg/m(2) per week; patients in the dose-escalation arms received 400 to 700 mg/m(2) every second week. Tumor and skin biopsies were taken for immunohistochemical and microarray expression analyses (tumor only) at baseline and week 4. Plasma was collected for proteomic analysis at baseline and week 4. KRAS tumor mutation status was assessed.


In subsets of paired skin samples from 35 patients, cetuximab treatment was associated with substantial downregulation of phospho(p)-EGFR, p-MAPK and proliferation and substantial upregulation of p27(Kip1) and p-STAT3 levels. No marked difference in these effects was noted for different schedules of administration and dose levels. In the cetuximab monotherapy phase, responses were seen only in patients whose tumors were wild-type for KRAS (eight of 29 v zero of 19 for KRAS mutant tumors; P = .015). Progression-free survival was longer for patients with KRAS wild-type compared with KRAS mutant tumors (log-rank P = .048). Genomics/proteomics analyses (42 and 45 patients, respectively) identified candidate biomarkers associated with response.


Biomarker analysis supported the functional equivalence of weekly and every second week administration of cetuximab and provided further confirmation that patients with KRAS wild-type mCRC were those most likely to benefit from cetuximab treatment.

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