Is EGFR expression altered following postoperative chemotherapy for colorectal adenocarcinoma?

Mahmoud A. Khalifa, Corwyn H. Rowsell, Rebecca Gladdy, Yoo Joung Ko, Sherif Hanna, Andy Smith, Calvin Law

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: There is immunohistochemical evidence to suggest that expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in primary colorectal adenocarcinoma predicts its expression in recurrent disease. This study investigates whether postoperative chemotherapy affects the degree of concordance between EGFR statuses of the two tumors. Methods: Thirty-three patients were identified from the files of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center from July 1994 to June 2005. All patients had resection of their primary tumors and their distant recurrences. Eighteen patients received postoperative chemotherapy, 3 of which also received postoperative radiation therapy. Representative primary and recurrent tumor sections were stained using mouse anti-EGFR antibodies and only membranous staining of malignant cells was recorded. Results were reported as negative (no staining), 1 + (positivity in <50% of cells) or 2+ (positivity in >50% of cells). Results: EGFR immunostaining in the 15 patients, who received no postoperative chemotherapy, was decreased in 3 recurrences, remained the same in 10 and increased in 2. In the group of 18 patients who received postoperative chemotherapy, EGFR immunostaining was decreased in 6 recurrences, remained the same in 9 and increased in 3 (p = 0.6598). In patients who received postoperative chemotherapy, the odds ratio for a recurrence to show lower levels of EGFR immunostaining compared to its originally resected primary was 4.75 (Cl = 0.94 - 26.73). Conclusion: These preliminary data suggest that recurrences following postoperative chemotherapy are likely to have lower levels of EGFR expression compared to cases who receive no chemotherapy. Although the difference of immunostaining profiles between the two groups was not statistically significant, this observation might impact the management of these patients by targeted biologic therapies and its practical implications need further validation in larger series.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number92
JournalWorld Journal of Surgical Oncology
StatePublished - Dec 12 2006


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