Molecular determinants of response to matuzumab in combination with paclitaxel for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer

Marcus M. Schittenhelm, Christian Kollmannsberger, Karin Oechsle, Amy Harlow, Jason Morich, Friedemann Honecker, Raffael Kurek, Stephan Störkel, Lothar Kanz, Christopher L. Corless, Kwok Kin Wong, Carsten Bokemeyer, Michael C. Heinrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Antibodies targeting epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) have proven to be effective in patients with nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that express EGFR. We recently published a phase I study of weekly matuzumab plus paclitaxel. This therapy was well tolerated and showed clinical responses in the majority of patients. Although matuzumab displays potent antitumor activity in some patients, not all patients respond well to treatment. Whether dysregulation of EGFR-mediated pathways precludes or sensitizes cells to paclitaxel is unknown. We sought to determine molecular predictive factors for therapy response in a phase I/II study patient cohort treated with matuzumab ± paclitaxel. Twenty-three cases [including one complete response (CR), three partial responses (PR), 10 stable diseases (SD)] were screened using immunohistochemistry (IHC), fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), PCR/sequencing and denaturing wave high performance liquid chromatography (D-HPLC) for expression, amplification, and mutation status of EGFR and downstream signaling pathways. All patients with PR or CR displayed an either high overall or single-cell EGFR expression in the majority of cells. In addition, all of the moderate responders, who achieved SD after at least two cycles of therapy, showed diffuse EGFR expression rates and/or strong single-cell EGFR expression. In contrast, 44% of the nonresponders showed low overall or single-cell EGFR expression levels. No low-expressing EGFR cases were present within the responder group. In addition, among patients with a gain-of-function mutation in KRAS primary therapy failure and/or short responses to therapy were observed. Our data suggest that EGFR expression and KRAS mutation status is predictive for clinical response to matuzumab ± paclitaxel in patients with advanced NSCLC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-489
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular cancer therapeutics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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