Genomics and proteomics have held out the promise of individualized medicine for the last 10 or 20 years, but clinical medicine has not yet delivered on this promise. Some cancers, such as breast cancer and some hematologic malignancies, have been at the forefront of individualized therapeutic approaches by integrating molecular biomarkers into treatment decision algorithms. Until recently, the treatment of colorectal cancer (CRC) has lagged behind these other cancers in this regard and therapeutic decisions have been solely empirical. Data from various clinical trials and translational studies have now opened the door for individualized treatment approaches by identifying patients with metastatic CRC who are most likely to benefit from antibodies against the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), cetuximab and panitumumab. Activating mutations of KRAS, a downstream mediator of EGFR signaling, has been shown to render EGFR antibodies ineffective, such that analyzing tumors for these mutations has become mandatory before the use of EGFR antibodies is considered in CRC. Beyond KRAS, several additional biomarkers are currently being investigated as potential positive or negative predictors for the efficacy of EGFR-targeted therapy. Most of these markers are alterations of molecules integrated in the EGFR pathway. This review will focus on the type and quality of evidence that has been gathered to date to predict resistance to monoclonal antibodies against EGFR in CRC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research