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African-American lung cancer patients with EGFR mutation respond better to erlotinib therapy

July 29, 2017

Using state-of-the-art technology that allowed for simultaneous detection of hundreds of oncogene mutations in clinical samples, they identified EGFR mutations in 20 of these patients, including 12 Caucasians and eight African-Americans. The difference was not statistically significant.

Moreover, 100 percent of the EGFR mutations in African-Americans were in exon 19, compared with only two-thirds of the mutations found in Caucasian patients. "It is well-documented that the incidence of lung cancer is higher among African-Americans, particularly men, and that their survival is generally poorer compared to their white counterparts," said Haddad. "Our data suggest that African-Americans with NSCLC harbor mutations in EGFR at rates similar to whites. Thus, African ancestry should not be a factor when deciding whether to test a tumor for these mutations, as doing so could widen the disparity seen in survival. Physicians treating these patients may want to consider this new information in their treatment decisions."

Source :  Laboratory of Translational Oncogenomics