Annals of Surgical Oncology

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 649–654 | Cite as

Cetuximab Shows Activity in Colorectal Cancer Patients With Tumors for Which FISH Analysis Does Not Detect an Increase in EGFR Gene Copy Number

  • Antoine Italiano
  • Philippe Follana
  • François-Xavier Caroli
  • Jean-Luc Badetti
  • Daniel Benchimol
  • Georges Garnier
  • Jean Gugenheim
  • Juliette Haudebourg
  • Frédérique Keslair
  • Gérard Lesbats
  • Gérard Lledo
  • Jean-Francois Roussel
  • Florence Pedeutour
  • Eric François
Gastrointestinal Oncology



EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) gene gain assessed by FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridization) has been shown to be predictive of response to EGFR-targeted therapies in patients with non–small cell lung cancer. The aim or our study was to relate the EGFR gene copy number to therapeutic results in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) treated with a cetuximab-containing regimen.


Forty-seven patients with metastatic CRC treated with a cetuximab-containing regimen between August 2004 and September 2006 were included in our study. EGFR status was assessed by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and by FISH on fixed paraffin-embedded sections of tumor specimens.


By IHC (n = 47), 39 patients (83%) had EGFR-positive tumors. EGFR gene copy gain was detected in 8 (19.5%) of 41 tumors. Neither EGFR expression assessed by IHC nor EGFR gene copy gain assessed by FISH were statistically significantly correlated with objective response rate, disease control rate, progression-free survival, and overall survival. Of the 33 patients whose tumors were FISH negative, 8 patients (24.2%) had a partial response, and 10 (30.3%) had stable disease.


EGFR FISH analysis does not seem to be a sufficiently robust test for selecting candidate CRC patients for cetuximab therapy.


Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Cetuximab Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Expression Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Gene Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Status 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Supported by the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nice (Contrat d’Incitation à la Recherche Clinique). We thank Laurence Bianchini, George Dettrakis, and Cecile Ortholan for editing the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Society of Surgical Oncology 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antoine Italiano
    • 1
    • 2
  • Philippe Follana
    • 1
  • François-Xavier Caroli
    • 3
  • Jean-Luc Badetti
    • 4
  • Daniel Benchimol
    • 3
  • Georges Garnier
    • 5
  • Jean Gugenheim
    • 3
  • Juliette Haudebourg
    • 6
  • Frédérique Keslair
    • 2
  • Gérard Lesbats
    • 7
  • Gérard Lledo
    • 8
  • Jean-Francois Roussel
    • 9
  • Florence Pedeutour
    • 2
  • Eric François
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical OncologyCentre Antoine-LacassagneNiceFrance
  2. 2.Laboratory of Solid Tumors GeneticsCentre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nice and CNRS UMR 6543, Faculté de MédecineNiceFrance
  3. 3.Medical Surgical Department of Gastrointestinal Oncology and HepatologyCentre Hospitalier Universitaire de NiceNiceFrance
  4. 4.Department of GastroenterologyCentre Hospitalier Général de CannesCannesFrance
  5. 5.Department of Medical OncologyCentre Hospitalier Princesse GraceMonacoMonaco
  6. 6.Department of PathologyCentre Hospitalier Universitaire de NiceNiceFrance
  7. 7.Department of Medical OncologyClinique BelvedereNiceFrance
  8. 8.Department of Medical OncologyClinique Saint-JeanLyonFrance
  9. 9.Department of PathologyCentre Hospitalier Princesse GraceMonacoMonaco

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