A combination of gefitinib and FOLFOX-4 as first-line treatment in advanced colorectal cancer patients. A GISCAD multicentre phase II study including a biological analysis of EGFR overexpression, amplification and NF-kB activation

S. Cascinu, R. Berardi, S. Salvagni, G. D. Beretta, V. Catalano, F. Pucci, A. Sobrero, P. Tagliaferri, R. Labianca, M. Scartozzi, F. Crocicchio, E. Mari, A. Ardizzoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Interesting activity has been reported by combining chemotherapy with cetuximab. An alternative approach for blocking EGFR function has been the development of small-molecule inhibitors of tyrosine kinase domain such as gefitinib. We designed a multicentre phase II study in advanced colorectal cancer combining gefitinib+FOLFOX in order to determine the activity and to relate EGFR expression and gene amplification and NF-kB activation to therapeutic results. Patients received FOLFOX-4 regimen plus gefitinib as first-line treatment. Tumour samples were analysed for EGFR protein expression by immunohistochemical analysis and for EGFR gene amplification by fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH), chromogenic in situ hybridisation (CISH) and NF-kB activation. Forty-three patients were enrolled into this study; 15 patients experienced a partial response (response rate=34.9%), whereas other 12 (27.9%) had a stable disease. Median progression-free survival (PFS) was 7.8 months and median overall survival (OS) was 13.9 months. We did not find any relationship with EGFR overexpression, gene amplification, while NF-kB activation was associated with a resistance to therapy. Gefitinib does not seem to increase the activity of FOLFOX in advanced colorectal cancer even in patients overexpressing EGFR or with EGFR amplification. Furthermore, while NF-kB activation seems to predict resistance to chemotherapy as demonstrated 'in vitro' models, gefitinib does not overcome this mechanism of resistance, as reported for cetuximab.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-76
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Volume98
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 15 2008

Keywords

  • Colorectal cancer
  • Gefitinib
  • NF-kB

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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