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Oncogene. 2011 Apr 14;30(15):1744-52. doi: 10.1038/onc.2010.545. Epub 2010 Dec 6.

Characterization of epidermal growth factor receptor mutations in non-small-cell lung cancer patients of African-American ancestry.

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Medical Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations are predictive markers for response to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs) in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The most common mutations, exon 19 short deletions and exon 20 point mutation (L858R), activate the tyrosine kinase and confer sensitivity to EGFR-TKIs. However, the function and sensitivity of rare mutations to EGFR-TKIs are unknown. In this study, we found five EGFR mutations out of 16 patients with NSCLC of African-American descent. The frequency of such mutations in this patient population appears to be significantly higher than previously reported. Two of them (N771GY and A767-V769dup) are rare insertion mutations located in exon 20. Using YFP-tagged EGFR mutants, we demonstrated that the mutations confer increased kinase activity, but no sensitivity to erlotinib at clinically available concentrations. In addition, we examined efficacy of PF00299804, an irreversible EGFR-TKI. Although the drug failed to show efficacy to T790M and S768N mutations, the exon 20 insertion mutations were sensitive to PF00299804. These data suggest that rare mutations in exon 20 are resistant to erlotinib but may be sensitive to irreversible inhibitors.

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