The roles of PTEN, cMET, and p16 in resistance to cetuximab in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
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There is no established biomarker for cetuximab efficacy in recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). The aim of the present study was to evaluate the prognostic and predictive impact of PTEN, cMET, and p16 expression in recurrent HNSCC. In this retrospective study, 112 patients with recurrent HNSCC received chemotherapy (CT) alone (n = 37) or chemotherapy with cetuximab (n = 75). PTEN, cMET, and p16 protein expression were evaluated by immunohistochemistry. The median overall survival (mOS) for the patients treated with cetuximab + CT versus CT alone was 11.4 months and 7.0 months, (p = 0.949). The median progression-free survival (mPFS) was 6.2 months versus 3.0 months (p = 0.154). Patients with PTEN loss exhibited a mOS of 5.8 months versus 10.5 months (p = 0.002) and a mPFS of 3.2 months versus 4.7 months (p = 0.019). A multivariate analysis identified an independent association between PTEN loss and OS (HR 2.27; 95% confidence 95% CI 1.27–4.08; p = 0.006) and with PFS (HR 1.85; 95% CI 1.09–2.99; p = 0.022). A negative prognostic impact of PTEN loss was observed in the patients treated with cetuximab + CT, and not in the CT only group. Expression of cMET and p16 showed no impact on OS or PFS. The present findings confirm that PTEN is a prognostic factor for metastatic HNSCC and they support further studies of PTEN expression to evaluate its predictive value to cetuximab response.
KeywordsCetuximab resistance Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma PTEN MET P16 Predictive factors Prognostic factors
This work was supported by the Ricardo Brentani Award, A.C. Camargo Cancer Center.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
None to declare.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study formal consent is not required.
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