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Health Agencies Update
May 26, 2004

Mutations Help Predict Cancer Drug Response

JAMA. 2004;291(20):2421. doi:10.1001/jama.291.20.2421-a

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%).

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