EGFR - TK (epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase) mutation testing and lung cancer

Last edited 04/2019 and last reviewed 06/2021

Epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase (EGFR-TK) mutation testing is indicated in adults with previously untreated, locally advanced or metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

  • clinical trials have shown that patients with EGFR-TK mutation-positive tumours gain more benefit from treatment with EGFR-TK inhibitors than from standard chemotherapy treatment
  • conversely, patients with EGFR-TK mutation-negative tumours gain more benefit from standard chemotherapy than from EGFR-TK inhibitors

NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer in England and Wales, accounting for around 72% of all lung cancer cases

  • can be further categorised by histological subtype; the 3 main types being squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and large-cell carcinoma

Prevalence of EGFR-TK mutations in NSCLC varies widely with population ethnicity

  • reported prevalence of EGFR-TK mutations in adenocarcinoma ranging from 10.4% in a study of Italian patients (Marchetti et al. 2005) to 50% in a study of Japanese patients
  • estimated proportion of EGFR-TK mutations in NSCLC in England and Wales is 16.6%