KRAS Testing for Colorectal Cancer

Is Testing Right for Me? I Have My Test Results

KRAS Testing for Colorectal Cancer

Resources

General Colon Cancer Information

American Cancer Society: Colon Cancer
You can learn about colon cancer, risk factors, prevention, treatment, and more. You can also read stories of hope from people whose lives have been touched by cancer.

Colorectal Cancer Network
A website featuring many links to general information on colorectal cancer, diagnosis, treatment, and support.

Genetics

National Cancer Institute: Genetics of Colorectal Cancer (PDQ)
A detailed overview of colon cancer genetics. A review of the genes involved, inherited syndromes, risks, symptoms, and testing is provided. Written for healthcare providers.

Collaborative Group of the Americas on Inherited Colorectal Cancer
The CGA focuses on families with less common forms of inherited colorectal cancer. It gives education regarding the clinical management and molecular genetics of inherited colorectal cancer to doctors, allied health-care professionals, patients and their families.

Support and Advocacy

C3: Colorectal Cancer Coalition
A nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization that fights colorectal cancer through research, empowerment and access. C3 supports research to improve screening, diagnosis, and treatment of colorectal cancer; for policy decisions around prevention and treatment; and increased awareness.

Colon Cancer Alliance
A national patient advocacy organization that gives patient support, education, research and advocacy across North America. As the voice of survivors, CCA works as an advocate for colorectal cancer patients and their families.

Treatment

Amgen: Reimbursement Connection
This site gives online reimbursement information and materials for Vectibix. Phone assistance is available at 1-800-272-9376.

Bristol Myers Squibb: Destination Access
This site helps with insurance coverage for Erbitux, helps with insurance appeals, and refers patients without coverage to foundations to cover costs. Phone assistance is available at 1-800-861-0048.

Next: References

Do you have advanced colorectal cancer?

Yes

No

Are you considering or are you on anti-EGFR therapy (such as Erbitux® or Vectibix®)?

Yes

No

KRAS gene testing is not likely to be useful for you.

Current medical guidelines from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommend KRAS gene testing for people with advanced colorectal cancer who are considering anti-EGFR therapy. Although other tumor types have KRAS mutations, KRAS gene testing is only recommended for colorectal cancer.

KRAS gene testing may be useful for you.

Current medical guidelines from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommend that genetic testing for KRAS mutations should be done for all patients considering or who have recently begun EGFR-targeted therapy with Erbitux® (cetuximab) or Vectibix® (panitumumab) who have advanced colorectal cancer.

KRAS testing can help predict if you will respond to a treatment for colon cancer called EGFR-targeted therapy (Erbitux® or Vectibix®). Patients with a KRAS mutation in their tumor should avoid treatment with these drugs.

The table below sums up how test results can change your care.

Possible Test Results and What They Mean

Test Result Category Chance To Get This Result What This Result Means
KRAS mutation positive About 40%
  • Your colon cancer is not likely to respond to EGFR-targeted therapy.
  • Anti-EGFR therapy may make your condition worse.
  • Medical guidelines recommend avoiding treatment with Erbitux® or Vectibix®.
  • Other kinds of therapy may work better for your tumor.
KRAS mutation negative About 60%
  • Your colon cancer has a good chance of responding to EGFR-targeted therapy.
  • Depending on your situation, EGFR-targeted therapy may be used alone or combined with chemotherapy.
  • If your tumor didn't respond to earlier chemotherapy, or if chemotherapy has stopped working, you may benefit from the addition of EGFR-targeted therapy.

KRAS gene testing may not be useful for you, because you don't have advanced colorectal cancer. Advanced colorectal cancer is the only cancer for which KRAS gene testing is recommended before starting anti-EGFR therapy.

Erbitux®, an anti-EGFR therapy, is also approved for the treatment of certain head and neck cancers. However, current medical guidelines do not recommend KRAS gene testing before starting Erbitux® for these types of cancers.

Current medical guidelines from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommend KRAS gene testing for people with advanced colorectal cancer who are considering anti-EGFR therapy. Research is being done to find out whether KRAS gene testing might be helpful for other tumor types, but at this time it is not recommended for other cancer types.

KRAS gene testing may not provide information useful to you because you are not considering anti-EGFR therapy.

Current medical guidelines from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommend KRAS gene testing before starting treatment for all patients with advanced colorectal cancer. However, KRAS gene testing is mostly useful for deciding whether anti-EGFR therapy (Erbitux® or Vectibix®) is appropriate treatment. If anti-EGFR therapy is not being considered for treatment of your cancer, KRAS gene testing probably won't provide you useful information.