Pancreatic cancer epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) intron 1 polymorphism influences postoperative patient survival and in vitro erlotinib response

Academic Article


  • Background: Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has a highly polymorphic CA repeat region that affects transcription efficiency and anti-EGFR drug sensitivity in carcinomas. Erlotinib is an EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor approved for pancreatic cancer treatment. We analyzed the impact of EGFR intron 1 CA repeat lengths in pancreatic cancer clinical outcome and in vitro response to erlotinib. Methods: Allele-specific EGFR intron 1 lengths were analyzed in 30 microdissected pancreatic cancer surgical specimens, matched peripheral blood samples, and 9 pancreatic cancer cell lines treated with erlotinib. CA repeat lengths were correlated with survival, tumor parameters, molecular markers of EGFR pathway activation, and in vitro antiproliferative effects of erlotinib. Results: Both patient samples and cell lines displayed the full spectrum of EGFR CA repeat lengths (14-22 per allele). Patients with shorter sum of total CA repeats (<36) had worse median survival than patients with ≥36 repeats (13.7 vs 30.6 months, P = .002). Shorter patient EGFR intron 1 length correlated with EGFR expression (P = .026). Tumor intron 1 length was identical to that of matched peripheral blood specimens. There was no correlation between EGFR intron 1 length and pancreatic cancer stage, nodal status, grade, or expression of p-EGFR, p-ERK and p-Akt. Shorter EGFR intron 1 length was associated with in vitro response to erlotinib treatment (P = .02). Conclusions: Shorter EGFR intron 1 CA repeat length is associated with worse pancreatic cancer clinical prognosis and in vitro response to erlotinib. EGFR intron 1 length can be reliably measured in peripheral blood and may translate into a quantitative predictive marker of both pancreatic cancer aggressiveness and erlotinib sensitivity. © 2007 Society of Surgical Oncology.
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    Author List

  • Tzeng CWD; Frolov A; Frolova N; Jhala NC; Howard JH; Vickers SM; Buchsbaum DJ; Heslin MJ; Arnoletti JP
  • Start Page

  • 2150
  • End Page

  • 2158
  • Volume

  • 14
  • Issue

  • 7