Uptake of kras testing and anti-egfr antibody use for colorectal cancer in the va

Daniel J. Becker, Kyung M. Lee, Steve Y. Lee, Kristine E. Lynch, Danil V. Makarov, Scott E. Sherman, Christy D. Morrissey, Michael J. Kelley, Julie A. Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE Advances in precision oncology, including RAS testing to predict response to epidermal growth factor receptor monoclonal antibodies (EGFR mAbs) in colorectal cancer (CRC), can extend patients' lives. We evaluated uptake and clinical use of KRAS molecular testing, guideline recommended since 2010, in the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System (VA). MATERIALS AND METHODS We conducted a retrospective cohort study of patients with stage IV CRC diagnosed in the VA 2006-2015. We gathered clinical, demographic, molecular, and treatment data from the VA Corporate Data Warehouse and 29 commercial laboratories. We performed multivariable analyses of associations between patient characteristics, KRAS testing, and EGFR mAb treatment. RESULTS Among 5,943 patients diagnosed with stage IV CRC, only 1,053 (17.7%) had KRAS testing. Testing rates increased from 2.3% in 2006 to 28.4% in 2013. In multivariable regression, older patients (odds ratio, 0.17; 95% CI, 0.09 to 0.32 for ≥ age 85 v,45 years) and those treated in the Northeast and South regions were less likely, and those treated at high-volume CRC centers were more likely to have KRAS testing (odds ratio, 2.32; 95% CI, 1.48 to 3.63). Rates of potentially guideline discordant care were high: 64.3% (321/499) of KRAS wildtype (WT) went untreated with EGFR mAb and 8.8% (401/4,570) with no KRAS testing received EGFR mAb. Among KRAS-WT patients, survival was better for patients who received EGFR mAb treatment (29.6 v 18.8 months; P <.001). CONCLUSION We found underuse of KRAS testing in advanced CRC, especially among older patients and those treated at lower-volume CRC centers. We found high rates of potentially guideline discordant underuse of EGFR mAb in patients with KRAS-WT tumors. Efforts to understand barriers to precision oncology are needed to maximize patient benefit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)638-645
Number of pages8
JournalJCO Precision Oncology
StatePublished - 2021


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal/therapeutic use
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colorectal Neoplasms/diagnosis
  • ErbB Receptors/antagonists & inhibitors
  • Female
  • Genetic Testing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)/genetics
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Veterans Health Services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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