Response of some head and neck cancers to epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors may be linked to mutation of ERBB2 rather than EGFR

Ezra E.W. Cohen, Mark W. Lingen, Leslie E. Martin, Patricia L. Harris, Brian W. Brannigan, Sara M. Haserlat, Ross A. Okimoto, Dennis C. Sgroi, Sonika Dahiya, Beth Muir, John R. Clark, James W. Rocco, Everett E. Vokes, Daniel A. Haber, Daphne W. Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) have shown modest yet reproducible response rates in patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). Somatic mutations in EGFR have recently been shown to be predictive of a clinical response in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with these inhibitors. The objective of this study was to determine if such mutations, or recently reported mutations in ERBB2, also underlie EGFR-TKI responsiveness in SCCHN patients. Experimental Design: We sequenced the kinase domain of EGFR and exon 20 of ERBB2 in tumor specimens from eight responsive patients. In addition, mutational analysis was done on tumor specimens from nine gefitinib nonresponders and 65 unselected cases of SCCHN. Results: None of eight TKI-responsive specimens had mutations within the kinase domain of EGFR. EGFR amplification was also not associated with drug responsiveness. However, a single responsive case had a somatic missense mutation within exon 20 of ERBB2. Conclusion: Our data indicate that unlike NSCLC, EGFR kinase mutations are rare in unselected cases of SCCHN within the United States and are not linked to gefitinib or erlotinib responses in SCCHN. Alternative mechanisms, including ERBB2 mutations, may underlie responsiveness in this tumor type.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8105-8108
Number of pages4
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Volume11
Issue number22
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 15 2005

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