PURPOSE: Regulation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling pathways may play a relevant role in determining the activity of cetuximab therapy in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (MCRC). We investigated possible associations between genetic variants and clinical outcomes of MCRC patients treated with cetuximab-irinotecan salvage therapy. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients who underwent cetuximab-irinotecan salvage therapy after disease progression during or after first-line bolus/infusional fluorouracil, leucovorin, and oxaliplatin chemotherapy and a second-line irinotecan-based regimen were considered eligible for analysis of polymorphisms with putative influence on cetuximab-related pathways. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) 61A>G, EGF receptor (EGFR) 216G>T, EGFR 497G>A, EGFR intron-1 (CA)(n) dinucleotide short (S)/long (L) variant, cyclin-D1 870A>G, immunoglobulin-G fragment-C receptors RIIIa 158G>T, and RIIa 131G>A were studied for a possible association with overall survival (OS) as the primary end point. Additional analyses were addressed at possible associations among polymorphisms and EGFR expression, toxicity, and response. RESULTS: In 110 assessable patients, significant association with favorable OS was observed for EGFR intron-1 S/S and EGF 61 G/G genotypes. In the multivariate model, EGFR intron-1 S/S and EGF 61 G/G genotypes showed a hazard ratio of 0.41 (95% CI, 0.21 to 0.78; P = .006) and 0.44 (95% CI, 0.23 to 0.84; P = .01), respectively. EGFR intron-1 S/S carriers showed more frequent G2-G3 skin toxicity (chi(2) test = 12.7; P = .001) and treatment response (chi(2) test = 9.45; P = .008) than EGFR intron-1 L/L carriers. CONCLUSION: Although additional studies are required for confirmation, our findings could optimize the use of cetuximab in MCRC patients.
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