BRAF Mutations as Predictive Biomarker for Response to Anti‐EGFR Monoclonal Antibodies

AbstractRecently, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) recommended that patients with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)‐expressing metastatic colorectal cancer could be treated with anti‐EGFR monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) cetuximab and panitumumab only in absence of Rat‐Sarcoma (RAS) mutations. In addition to the previously established biomarker Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KRAS) exon 2, cumulative evidence also shows that patients whose tumors harbor KRAS exons 3 or 4 and neuroblastoma rat‐sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (NRAS) exons 2, 3, and 4 mutations are found unlikely to benefit from anti‐EGFR treatment.In line with the resistance of RAS mutated (mt) tumors, treatment response in BRAFmt tumors may also be altered given their important role in the EGFR signaling pathway. However, BRAF is not recommended as predictive biomarker yet because the evidence for the impact of BRAF mutations on treatment outcome is considered insufficient.This article summarizes the evidence for the impact of BRAF mutations on treatment outcome of anti‐EGFR mAbs. Based on a review of literature, eight meta‐analyses were included that consistently show that patients with BRAF mutations have a lack of treatment benefit of anti‐EGFR mAbs. After discussing the quality and quantity of available evidence, we conclude that evidence is stronger than suggested by ESMO and ASCO. Additionally, we highlight that the quality of evidence for BRAF is even higher than for extended RAS as a biomarker. We therefore advise ESMO and ASCO to reconsider BRAF status as a predictive biomarker for response.Implications for Practice.In metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), therapy with anti‐epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) monoclonal antibodies cetuximab and panitumumab is indicated in absence of RAS mutations. Cumulative evidence shows that patients with BRAF mutations, who comprise 10% of the mCRC population, do not benefit from anti‐EGFR‐antibody treatment. Although guidelines state that evidence for BRAF as a predictive marker is insufficient, we highlight that the quality and quantity of evidence is higher than suggested. We therefore encourage the use of BRAF as a predictive marker in order to exclude patients from therapy for whom limited treatment benefit is expected.

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