Transmembrane receptors, such as the EGFR, are regulated by their turnover, which is dependent on the ubiquitin-proteasome system. We tested in two independent study cohorts whether SNPs in genes involved in EGFR turnover predict clinical outcome in cetuximab-treated metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients. The following SNPs involved in EGFR degradation were analyzed in a screening cohort of 108 patients treated with cetuximab in the chemorefractory setting: c-CBL (rs7105971; rs4938637; rs4938638; rs251837), EPS15 (rs17567; rs7308; rs1065754), NAE1 (rs363169; rs363170; rs363172), SH3KBP1 (rs7051590; rs5955820; rs1017874; rs11795873), SGIP1 (rs604737; rs6570808; rs7526812), UBE2M (rs895364; rs895374), and UBE2L3 (rs5754216). SNPs showing an association with response or survival were analyzed in BRAF and RAS wild-type samples from the FIRE-3 study. One hundred and fifty-three FOLFIRI plus cetuximab-treated patients served as validation set, and 168 patients of the FOLFIRI plus bevacizumab arm served as controls. EGFR FISH was done in 138 samples to test whether significant SNPs were associated with EGFR expression. UBE2M rs895374 was significantly associated with progression-free survival (log-rank P = 0.005; HR, 0.60) within cetuximab-treated patients. No association with bevacizumab-treated patients (n = 168) could be established (P = 0.56; HR, 0.90). rs895374 genotype did not affect EGFR FISH measurements. EGFR recycling is an interesting mechanism of secondary resistance to cetuximab in mCRC. This is the first report suggesting that germline polymorphisms in the degradation process predict efficacy of cetuximab in patients with mCRC. Genes involved in EGFR turnover may be new targets in the treatment of mCRC. Mol Cancer Ther; 14(10); 2374-81. (c)2015 AACR.
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Journal article published