KRAS mutational status assessment in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer: are the clinical implications so clear?

Authors


Prof. Mohamed Hebbar, Unité d’Oncologie Médicale, Centre Hospitalo-Universitaire, 1 rue Michel Polonovski, 59037 Lille, France (e-mail: m-hebbar@chru-lille.fr).

Abstract

HEBBAR M., FOURNIER P. & ROMANO O. (2010) European Journal of Cancer Care19, 145–166
KRAS mutational status assessment in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer: are the clinical implications so clear?

The CRYSTAL study demonstrated an advantage in terms of objective response and progression-free survival for the FOLFIRI–cetuximab combination compared with first-line FOLFIRI for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. The results of an ancillary biological study with screening for a KRAS gene mutation in 540 patients were reported at the 2008 American Society of Clinical Oncology congress. The analysis confirmed the value of adding cetuximab only in the absence of KRAS mutation. These results led to recommend restriction of the use of cetuximab in Europe to patients with a tumour bearing wild-type KRAS. How should this apparent simplification be integrated into clinical practice? The FOLFIRI–cetuximab combination is certainly a useful supplementary first-line option although its place in relation to other high-dose regimens (high-dose FOLFIRI, FOLFOXIRI or FOLFOX-7), conventional chemotherapy plus bevacizumab, or even a fluoropyrimidine alone in the case of unresectable metastases, has yet to be specified. For subsequent lines, no study has prospectively assessed the value of the chemotherapy–anti-epidermal growth factor receptor combination as a function of KRAS status. Should the absence of objective response constantly observed in retrospective analyses in patients with a tumour presenting a KRAS mutation definitively exclude these patients while stable disease (and potentially a slight gain in survival) may be obtained?

Ancillary