In patients with nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC), several studies have demonstrated a positive correlation between somatic mutation in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase domain and clinical outcomes with the use of EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). However, some patients with wild-type (WT) EGFR also responded to EGFR TKIs and remained stable. Recently, amphiregulin (AR) has been suggested as a predictive marker for EGFR TKIs in patients with WT EGFR-positive NSCLC. The objective of the current study was to evaluate the association between AR expression and the efficacy of using EGFR TKIs in the treatment of patients with WT EGFR-positive NSCLC.
Seventy-three patients with WT EGFR-positive NSCLC received treatment with gefitinib or erlotinib between May 2005 and December 2008. AR expression was assessed by immunohistochemistry.
The clinical response to EGFR TKIs was reassessed for all patients as follows: 16 of 73 patients had a partial response (21.9%), 12 patients had stable disease (16.5%), and 45 patients had progressive disease (61.6%). AR expression was positive in 24 of 40 patients (60%). The ability to achieve disease control did not differ significantly between AR-positive patients and AR-negative patients (P = .188). At a median follow-up of 25.4 months (range, 10.5-53.3 months), progression-free survival was 8.1 weeks in AR-positive patients and 4 weeks in AR-negative patients (P = .025), and overall survival was significantly longer in AR-positive patients than in AR-negative patients (12.2 months vs 4.1 months; P = .001).
The current results suggested that patients with WT EGFR-positive NSCLC who have AR-positive tumors may benefit clinically from treatment with EGFR TKIs, indicating that AR expression may be a potential marker for the selection of EGFR-TKI treatment for patients with WT EGFR-positive NSCLC. Cancer 2011. © 2010 American Cancer Society.