Mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene increase the likelihood of a beneficial response to the
cancer drug gefitinib, according to a study by researchers at Massachusetts
General Hospital (MGH) and funded in part by the National Institutes of Health,
published in an online edition of the New England Journal
of Medicine on April 29 (http://www.nejm.com).
The MGH investigators searched for mutations in the EGFR gene in tumor samples from patients who participated in the gefitinib
clinical trial. Mutations were identified in a region called the tyrosine
kinase domain of the EGFR gene in eight of nine patients
who responded positively to gefitinib compared with none of seven patients
who did not respond. The researchers also examined tumors from 25 patients
with non-small-cell lung cancer who had not been exposed to gefitinib, and
they found similar mutations in two samples (8%).
Hampton T. Mutations Help Predict Cancer Drug Response. JAMA. 2004;291(20):2421. doi:10.1001/jama.291.20.2421-a