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Lung Cancer. 2011 Jul;73(1):45-50. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2010.11.003. Epub 2010 Dec 3.

The usefulness of mutation-specific antibodies in detecting epidermal growth factor receptor mutations and in predicting response to tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy in lung adenocarcinoma.

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Division of Clinical Laboratory, National Cancer Center Hospital, Tokyo, Japan.



Among the mutations of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), deletions in exon 19 (DEL), and point mutations in exon 21 (L858R) predict the response to EGFR-tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) in primary lung adenocarcinoma. The ability to detecting such mutations using immunohistochemistry (IHC) would be advantageous.


The molecular-based and IHC-based EGFR mutations were analyzed in 577 lung adenocarcinomas using high resolution melting analysis (HRMA) and 2 mutation-specific antibodies, respectively.


In the molecular-based analyses, DEL was detected in 135 cases (23%), and L858R was detected in 172 cases (30%). In the IHC-based analyses, a positive reaction was detected in 59 cases (10%) for the DEL-specific antibody, and in 139 cases (24%) for the L858R-specific antibody. With the molecular-based results set as the gold standard, the sensitivity and specificity of the DEL-specific antibody were 42.2% and 99.5%, respectively, while the sensitivity and specificity of the L858R-specific antibody were 75.6% and 97.8%, respectively. The antibody specificities improved when the threshold for the mutation-positive reactions was set as >50% of immunopositive tumor cells. The significant predictors of the clinical response to EGFR-TKI were molecular-based EGFR mutations (p<0.001) and IHC-based EGFR mutations (p=0.001). However, a multivariate analysis revealed that only molecular-based EGFR mutations were significantly correlated with the clinical response (p<0.001).


Mutation-specific antibodies demonstrated extremely high specificities, but their sensitivities were not higher than those of molecular-based analyses. However, IHC should be performed before a molecular-based analysis, because it is more cost-effective and can effectively select candidates for EGFR-TKI therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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