Germline Polymorphisms in Genes Involved in the Antioxidant System Predict the Efficacy of Cetuximab in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Patients Enrolled in FIRE-3 Trial



      Reactive oxygen species activate EGFR/RAS/MAPK signaling either through the inactivation of phosphatases or by direct oxidation of kinases. We hypothesized that functional single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in antioxidant genes link to the efficacy of cetuximab in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).

      Patients and Methods

      We analyzed genomic and clinical data from FIRE-3, a phase III trial comparing cetuximab and bevacizumab along with FOLFIRI in untreated mCRC patients. Genomic DNA extracted from blood samples was genotyped. Thirteen functional SNPs in antioxidant genes were tested for associations with clinical outcomes.


      In total, 236 patients were included (FOLFIRI/cetuximab arm, n = 129; FOLFIRI/bevacizumab arm, n = 107). In univariate analysis, two SNPs (TXN2 rs4821494 and GPX4 rs4807542) were significantly associated with overall survival (OS) in the FOLFIRI/cetuximab arm. Multivariate analysis confirmed the significant association of TXN2 rs4821494 (T/T vs. any G allele, hazard ratio = 2.47, 95% confidence interval = 1.06–5.72, P = .03). In the FOLFIRI/bevacizumab arm, no SNPs were significantly associated with clinical outcomes. Treatment-by-SNP interaction test confirmed the predictive value of TXN2 rs4821494 (OS: P = .03).


      TXN2 rs4821494 involved in the antioxidant system may predict the efficacy of cetuximab-based first-line chemotherapy in mCRC, warranting further validation studies.



      CI (confidence interval), GTEx (Genotype-Tissue Expression), HR (hazard ratio), mCRC (metastatic colorectal cancer), ORR (overall response rate), OS (overall survival), PFS (progression-free survival), ROS (reactive oxygen species), SNP (single-nucleotide polymorphism)
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