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Springerplus. 2015 Apr 9;4:171. doi: 10.1186/s40064-015-0891-0. eCollection 2015.

Pretreatment levels of the serum biomarkers CEA, CYFRA 21-1, SCC and the soluble EGFR and its ligands EGF, TGF-alpha, HB-EGF in the prediction of outcome in erlotinib treated non-small-cell lung cancer patients.

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Hospital Pharmacy Service, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Vigo (CHUVI), 36204 Vigo, Spain.
Department of Biochemistry, Genetics and Immunology, Faculty of Biology, University of Vigo, 36310 Vigo, Spain.
Pathological Anatomy Service, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Vigo (CHUVI), 36204 Vigo, Spain.


The aim of this study has been to investigate the potential of serum biomarkers used in clinical practice (CEA, CYFRA 21-1, SCC) together with the serum epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and its associated ligands (EGF, TGF-α, HB-EGF) as outcome predictors of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients treated with the TKI erlotinib. The pretreatment levels of these markers were evaluated through immunoassays carried out in 58 patients. The progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were assessed by the Kaplan-Meier method and differences between groups were compared by means of the Log-Rank test. Association of risk factors with survival was evaluated using the univariate and multivariate Cox modelling procedures. Higher CEA (>5 ng/mL) and sEGFR (>56.87 ng/mL) concentrations associated significantly with a higher overall survival. The pre-treatment sEGFR serum levels constituted an independent prognostic factor. The EGFR gene mutational status and the sEGFR level combination was the single to associate significantly with longer progression-free survival periods, in circumstances in which the EGFR gene was mutated and increased protein serum levels were detected. The overall survival as assessed through a Cox analysis revealed similar death hazards with respect to low sEGFR levels combined both with non-mutated EGFR genotypes and low CEA serum levels. Our results suggest that the pre-treatment CEA and sEGFR serum levels may provide a comparable source of information to that supplied by the EGFR gene mutational status with respect to the prognosis of erlotinib treated NSCLC patients. A combined sEGFR and CEA level appraisal could be of considerable value to select patients to undergo EGFR-TKI treatments.


CEA; EGFR; Erlotinib; Non-small cell lung cancer; Prognosis; Survival prediction

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