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Revisiting Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) Amplification as a Target for Anti-EGFR Therapy: Analysis of Cell-Free Circulating Tumor DNA in Patients With Advanced Malignancies.


To date, evidence for tissue epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) overexpression as a biomarker for anti-EGFR therapies has been weak. We investigated the genomic landscape of EGFR amplification in blood-derived cell-free tumor DNA (cfDNA) across diverse cancers and the role of anti-EGFR therapies in achieving response. We assessed EGFR amplification status among 28,584 patients with malignancies evaluated by clinical-grade next-generation sequencing (NGS) of blood-derived cfDNA (54- to 73-gene panel). Furthermore, we curated the clinical characteristics of 1,434 patients at the University of California San Diego who had cfDNA testing by this NGS test. Overall, EGFR amplification was detected in cfDNA from 8.5% of patients (2,423 of 28,584), most commonly in colorectal (16.3% [458 of 2,807]), non-small-cell lung (9.0% [1,096 of 12,197]), and genitourinary cancers (8.1% [170 of 2,104]). Most patients had genomic coalterations (96.9% [95 of 98]), frequently involving genes affecting other tyrosine kinases (72.4% [71 of 98]), mitogen-activated protein kinase cascades (56.1% [55 of 98]), cell-cycle-associated signals (52.0% [51 of 98]), and the phosphoinositide 3-kinase pathway (35.7% [35 of 98]). EGFR amplification emerged in serial cfDNA after various anticancer therapies (n = 6), including checkpoint inhibitors (n = 4), suggesting a possible role for these amplifications in acquired resistance. Nine evaluable patients with EGFR amplification were treated with anti-EGFR-based regimens; five (55.6%) achieved partial responses, including three patients whose tissue NGS lacked EGFR amplification. EGFR amplification was detected in cfDNA among 8.5% of 28,584 diverse cancers. Most patients had coexisting alterations. Responses were observed in five of nine patients who received EGFR inhibitors. Incorporating EGFR inhibitors into the treatment regimens of patients harboring EGFR amplification in cfDNA merits additional study.

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