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Biomarkers predicting clinical outcome of epidermal growth factor receptor-targeted therapy in metastatic colorectal cancer.The monoclonal antibodies panitumumab and cetuximab that target the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) have expanded the range of treatment options for metastatic colorectal cancer. Initial evaluation of these agents as monotherapy in patients with EGFR-expressing chemotherapy-refractory tumors yielded response rates of approximately 10%. The realization that detection of positive EGFR expression by immunostaining does not reliably predict clinical outcome of EGFR-targeted treatment has led to an intense search for alternative predictive biomarkers. Oncogenic activation of signaling pathways downstream of the EGFR, such as mutation of KRAS, BRAF, or PIK3CA oncogenes, or inactivation of the PTEN tumor suppressor gene is central to the progression of colorectal cancer. Tumor KRAS mutations, which may be present in 35%-45% of patients with colorectal cancer, have emerged as an important predictive marker of resistance to panitumumab or cetuximab treatment. In addition, among colorectal tumors carrying wild-type KRAS, mutation of BRAF or PIK3CA or loss of PTEN expression may be associated with resistance to EGFR-targeted monoclonal antibody treatment, although these additional biomarkers require further validation before incorporation into clinical practice. Additional knowledge of the molecular basis for sensitivity or resistance to EGFR-targeted monoclonal antibodies will allow the development of new treatment algorithms to identify patients who are most likely to respond to treatment and could also provide rationale for combining therapies to overcome primary resistance. The use of KRAS mutations as a selection biomarker for anti-EGFR monoclonal antibody (eg, panitumumab or cetuximab) treatment is the first major step toward individualized treatment for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.
Genetic correction of PSA values using sequence variants associated with PSA levelsMeasuring serum levels of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is the most common screening method for prostate cancer. However, PSA levels are affected by a number of factors apart from neoplasia. Notably, around 40% of the variability of PSA levels in the general population is accounted for by inherited factors, suggesting that it may be possible to improve both sensitivity and specificity by adjusting test results for genetic effects. To search for sequence variants that associate with PSA levels, we performed a genome-wide association study and follow-up analysis using PSA information from 15,757 Icelandic and 454 British men not diagnosed with prostate cancer. Overall, we detected a genome-wide significant association between PSA levels and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at six loci: 5p15.33 (rs2736098), 10q11 (rs10993994), 10q26 (rs10788160), 12q24 (rs11067228), 17q12 (rs4430796), and 19q13.33 [rs17632542 (KLK3: I179T)], each with P(combined) <3 × 10(-10). Among 3834 men who underwent a biopsy of the prostate, the 10q26, 12q24, and 19q13.33 alleles that associate with high PSA levels are associated with higher probability of a negative biopsy (odds ratio between 1.15 and 1.27). Assessment of association between the six loci and prostate cancer risk in 5325 cases and 41,417 controls from Iceland, the Netherlands, Spain, Romania, and the United States showed that the SNPs at 10q26 and 12q24 were exclusively associated with PSA levels, whereas the other four loci also were associated with prostate cancer risk. We propose that a personalized PSA cutoff value, based on genotype, should be used when deciding to perform a prostate biopsy.