Real-world evidence of the intrinsic limitations of PCR-based EGFR mutation assay in non-small cell lung cancer

Chia I. Shen, Chi Lu Chiang, Tsu Hui Shiao, Yung Hung Luo, Heng Sheng Chao, Hsu Ching Huang, Chao Hua Chiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Detection of driver gene mutations is important in advanced NSCLC. The cobas EGFR mutation test is a mutant allele-specific real-time PCR assay with limitation owing to its primer design. Next-generation sequencing-based assay has a higher mutation detection coverage; however, its clinical impact remains unclear. We retrospectively collected the records of stage IV NSCLC patients with wild-type EGFR tested by cobas test. FoundationOne CDx was used for comprehensive genomic profiles. We then evaluated the missed EGFR mutations by the cobas test. We studied 62 patients. The median age was 60 (range: 35–86 years). Most patients were male and 58.1% were smokers. 91.9% were adenocarcinomas. Of the 62 samples, 7 (11.3%) were detected with EGFR mutations by NGS. Among these overlooked EGFR mutations, five were exon 20 insertions, and two were exon 19 deletions. Two patients received EGFR TKIs and showed durable response with PFS 5.9 months and 10.1 months, respectively. Using NGS as the standard, the false-negative rate of the cobas EGFR mutation test was 11.3%—in a population with a high prevalence of EGFR mutations. The most overlooked mutations were exon 20 insertions. A comprehensive EGFR mutation assay can provide significant benefits to patients with NSCLC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13566
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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