A qualitative detection method for EGFR mutations is not sufficient to guide precise targeted therapy in clinical practice. The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between the abundance of EGFR mutations and efficacy of EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs).Methods:
We used the amplification refractory mutation system (ARMS) method optimized with competitive blockers and specific mutation quantitation (ARMS+) to quantitatively evaluate the abundance of EGFR mutations in 201 patients with advanced NSCLC. A cutoff value of the abundance of EGFR mutations was determined by receiver operating characteristic analysis in a training group and validated in a validation group.Results:
The abundance of EGFR activating mutation by ARMS+ was significantly associated with objective response to EGFR TKIs. The abundance of 19DEL was significantly higher than that of L858R, with cutoff values for 19DEL and L858R of 4.9% and 9.5%, respectively. The median progression-free survival in the high group was significantly longer than that in the low group (19DEL, 15.0 versus 2.0 months [p < 0.001] and L858R, 12.3 versus 2.0 months [p < 0.001]) in the training set. Similar results were also observed in the validation set. Nine of 13 patients harboring T790M mutation achieved a partial response to EGFR TKIs. Most (seven of nine) were identified to have a low abundance of T790M mutation. The abundance of EGFR mutations appeared to be more significantly associated with the copy number of EGFR mutations from circulating tumor DNA in 19DEL group.Conclusion:
The abundance of EGFR activating mutation by ARMS+ was significantly associated with objective response to EGFR TKIs. The abundance of EGFRT790M mutation may have an adverse impact on progression-free survival rather than on objective response rate in patients with advanced EGFR-mutant NSCLC treated with EGFR TKIs.