Biopsy on progression in patients with EGFR mutation–positive advanced non-small-cell lung cancer—a Canadian experience

  • Q. Chu Cross Cancer Institute, Alberta Health Services
  • A. Agha BC Cancer–Vancouver Centre
  • N. Devost AstraZeneca Canada
  • R. N. Walton AstraZeneca Canada
  • S. Ghosh Cross Cancer Institute, Alberta Health Services
  • C. Ho BC Cancer–Vancouver Centre
Keywords: Biopsy, non-small-cell lung cancer, EGFR mutation


Background Epidermal growth factor receptor (egfr) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (tkis) are standard therapy for patients with advanced or metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer harbouring an EGFR mutation. Upon progression, 50%–60% develop a secondary T790M mutation. Recent trials demonstrated outcome improvement with osimertinib compared with standard platinum-based chemotherapy as second-line therapy for patients with secondary T790M mutation. To identify T790M, a biopsy of the tumour or, more recently, plasma is necessary. This retrospective study aimed to evaluate biopsy procedures and mutational analysis at 2 Canadian cancer centres.

Methods In a retrospective review of patients who were approached to enrol in the aura2, aura3, or astris studies, demographics, eligibility for rebiopsy upon progression after an egfr tki, rebiopsy methods and complications, number of rebiopsies, and incidence of the T790M mutation were collected.

Results Of 84 patients considered for trial enrolment, 80 signed a consent. In 78 patients who underwent rebiopsy, computed tomography or ultrasonography guidance were the most common methods used. The most common biopsy sites were lung and lymph nodes. The median number of rebiopsies performed to find a T790M mutation was 2. Only 9% of patients experienced complications. Of samples obtained, 74% were adequate for testing after initial rebiopsy. A T790M mutation was found in 47 patients, of whom 44 were enrolled on a trial. After multiple rebiopsies, only 5% of samples were inadequate for molecular analysis.

Conclusions In the Canadian setting, the acceptance of rebiopsy on progression was high. Multiple rebiopsies were clinically feasible and could increase the yield for T790M mutation. The incidence of complications was low despite the most common site for rebiopsy being lung.

How to Cite
Chu, Q., Agha, A., Devost, N., Walton, R. N., Ghosh, S., & Ho, C. (2020). Biopsy on progression in patients with EGFR mutation–positive advanced non-small-cell lung cancer—a Canadian experience. Current Oncology, 27(1).
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