Published online Oct 14, 2010. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v16.i38.4823
Revised: July 9, 2010
Accepted: July 16, 2010
Published online: October 14, 2010
AIM: To investigate whether the evaluation of tumor budding can complement K-RAS analysis to improve the individualized prediction of response to anti-epidermal growth factor receptor based therapies in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients.
METHODS: Forty-three patients with mCRC treated with cetuximab or panitumumab were entered into this study. According to the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors criteria, 30 patients had stable or progressive disease (non-responsive), while 13 patients had a partial response. Tumor buds were evaluated from whole tissue sections stained for pan-cytokeratin, evaluated in the densest region using a 40 × objective and “high-grade” tumor budding was defined as 15 buds/high-power field.
RESULTS: Tumor buds and K-RAS mutation both correctly classified 68% of patients. All patients with K-RAS mutation (n = 7) or high-grade tumor budding (n = 11) were non-responsive, of which 4 patients had both features. All 13 partial responders were K-RAS wild-type with low-grade tumor budding. Combined, the predictive value of K-RAS and tumor budding was 80%. Additionally, high-grade tumor budding was significantly related to worse progression-free survival [HR (95% CI): 2.8 (1.3-6.0, P = 0.008)].
CONCLUSION: If confirmed in larger cohorts, the addition of tumor budding to K-RAS analysis may represent an effective approach for individualized patient management in the metastatic setting.