Open Access Highly Accessed Case report

A case of lung adenocarcinoma harboring EGFR mutation and EML4-ALK fusion gene

Hisashi Tanaka1*, Akihito Hayashi1, Takeshi Morimoto1, Kageaki Taima1, Yoshihito Tanaka1, Michiko Shimada1, Akira Kurose2, Shingo Takanashi1 and Ken Okumura1

Author Affiliations

1 Hirosaki University Graduate School of Medicine, Course of Medical Sciences, Cardiology, Respiratory Medicine and Nephrology, Zaifu-cho 5, Hirosaki, 036-8562, Japan

2 Department of Diagnostic Pathology, Hirosaki University Graduate School of Medicine, Hirosaki, Japan

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BMC Cancer 2012, 12:558  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-558

Published: 26 November 2012



Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) - tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) is used for the patients with EGFR-mutant lung cancer. Recently, phase III studies in the patients with EGFR-mutant demonstrated that EGFR-TKI monotherapy improved progression-free survival compared with platinum-doublet chemotherapy. The echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4 (EML4) - anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) fusion oncogene represents one of the newest molecular targets in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Patients who harbor EML4-ALK fusions have been associated with a lack of EGFR or KRAS mutations.

Case presentation

We report a 39-year-old patient diagnosed as adenocarcinoma harboring EGFR mutation and EML4-ALK fusion gene. We treated this patient with erlotinib as the third line therapy, but no clinical benefit was obtained.


We experienced a rare case with EGFR mutation and EML4-ALK. Any clinical benefit using EGFR-TKI was not obtained in our case. The therapeutic choice for the patients with more than one driver mutations is unclear. We needs further understanding of the lung cancer molecular biology and the biomarker infomation.

Lung cancer; EGFR mutation; EML4-ALK; Erlotinib