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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Mutations in epidermal growth factor receptor and K-ras in Chinese patients with colorectal cancer

Zuo Yunxia1, Cao Jun1, Zhu Guanshan2, Lu Yachao2, Zhou Xueke1 and Li Jin1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medical Oncology, Fudan University Cancer Hospital, Shanghai Medical School, Shanghai 200032, PR China

2 Innovation Center China, AstraZeneca Global R&D, 898 Halei Road, Shanghai 201203, PR China

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BMC Medical Genetics 2010, 11:34  doi:10.1186/1471-2350-11-34

Published: 26 February 2010



Mutations of EGFR and K-ras are biomarkers for predicting the efficacy of targeting agents in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and colorectal cancer (CRC). Data on the gene mutation status of EGFR and K-ras in Chinese patients with CRC are limited.


EGFR mutations in exon 18-21 and K-ras mutations in exon 1 and 2 were detected in tumor samples from 101 Chinese patients with CRC by polymerase chain reaction-single strand conformational polymorphism. The relationship between patients' characteristics and survival time and gene mutation status were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences.


Only two samples (2.0%) had EGFR mutations in exon 18 or 21, and 33 of 101 samples (32.7%) had K-ras mutations in codon 12, 13, 45, 69, or 80. Univariate analysis suggested that differentiation might be correlated with K-ras mutations (p = 0.05), which was confirmed by a logistic regression model (p = 0.04). The median overall survival (OS) and median survival after metastasis were 44.0 and 18.0 months, respectively, in the mutant K-ras group, and 53.3 and 19.0 months, respectively, in the wild K-ras group. K-ras mutation was not an independent prognostic factor for OS or survival after metastasis (p = 0.79 and 0.78, respectively).


In Chinese patients with CRC, EGFR mutations were rare, and K-ras mutations were similar to those of Europeans. New mutations in codons 45, 69, and 80 were found in the Chinese population. Poor differentiation was an independent factor related to K-ras mutations.