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The Genomic Landscape of Response to EGFR Blockade in Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer world-wide with 1.2 million patients diagnosed yearly. In late stage CRC, the most commonly used targeted therapies are monoclonal antibodies cetuximab and panitumumab, which inactivate EGFR. Recent studies have identified alterations in KRAS and other genes as likely mechanisms of primary and secondary resistance to anti-EGFR antibody therapy. Despite these efforts, additional mechanisms of resistance to EGFR blockade are thought to be present in CRC and little is known about determinants of sensitivity to this therapy. To examine the effect of somatic genetic changes in CRC on response to anti-EGFR antibody therapy, we performed complete exome sequence and copy number analyses of 129 patient-derived tumorgrafts and targeted genomic analyses of 55 patient tumors, all of which were KRAS wild-type. We analyzed the response of tumors to anti-EGFR antibody blockade in tumorgraft models or in clinical settings. In addition to previously identified genes, we detected mutations in ERBB2, EGFR, FGFR1, PDGFRA, and MAP2K1 as potential mechanisms of primary resistance to this therapy. Novel alterations in the ectodomain of EGFR were identified in patients with acquired resistance to EGFR blockade. Amplifications and sequence changes in the tyrosine kinase receptor adaptor gene IRS2 were identified in tumors with increased sensitivity to anti-EGFR therapy. Therapeutic resistance to EGFR blockade could be overcome in tumorgraft models through combinatorial therapies targeting actionable genes. These analyses provide a systematic approach to evaluate response to targeted therapies in human cancer, highlight new mechanisms of responsiveness to anti-EGFR therapies, and provide new avenues for intervention in the management of CRC.

Click on a Dataset ID in the table below to learn more, and to find out who to contact about access to these data

Dataset ID Description Technology Samples
EGAD00001001628 Illumina HiSeq 2500 Illumina MiSeq 299
EGAD00001001674 Illumina HiSeq 2500 Illumina MiSeq 299
Publications Citations
The genomic landscape of response to EGFR blockade in colorectal cancer.
Nature 526: 2015 263-267
Colorectal cancer patient-derived organoids and cell lines harboring ATRX and/or DAXX mutations lack Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT).
Cell Death Dis 14: 2023 96