EGFR and KRAS mutations in metastatic lung adenocarcinomas

Delicia Munfus-Mccray, Shuko Harada, Christina Adams, Frederic Askin, Douglas Clark, Edward Gabrielson, Qing Kay Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


In primary lung adenocarcinoma, EGFR and KRAS mutations are found in approximately 10% to 20% and 20% to 30%, respectively. Few studies have investigated these mutations in metastases. Patients with EGFR mutations have a 70% to 80% response rate to tyrosine-kinase inhibitors therapy and a longer progression-free survival rate in contrast to patients with KRAS mutations that are associated with virtually no response tyrosine-kinase inhibitors. In this study, we have investigated EGFR and KRAS mutations in metastatic lung adenocarcinoma. Using Johns Hopkins Hospital archives, 1966 lung adenocarcinomas were found from January 2007 to May 2010. A total of 60 metastatic adenocarcinomas (28 cytologic and 32 surgical cases) with EGFR and KRAS studies were identified. In addition, 18 cases of primary and matched metastases were also included. Exons 18 to 21 of EGFR and exon 2 of KRAS (codons 12 and 13) were sequenced. In our study, EGFR and KRAS mutations were found in 21.7% (13 of 60 cases) and 28.3% (17 of 60 cases), respectively, and occurred more often with advanced stage of primary tumors. KRAS mutations were associated with poor prognosis and occurred exclusively in smokers in comparison with EGFR mutation. Of 9 pairs, mutations were concordant in 77.8%; 1 pair displayed acquisition of KRAS mutation, whereas 1 pair showed loss of EGFR mutation in the corresponding metastasis. Our findings suggest that EGFR and KRAS status should be tested in metastasis regardless of known mutations of the primary tumor. Additional studies are needed to further investigate the mechanisms of discordances in metastatic tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1447-1453
Number of pages7
JournalHuman pathology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • EGFR mutation
  • KRAS mutation
  • Lung adenocarcinoma
  • Metastatic non-small cell lung cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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