Concerned about whether you should have your tumor tested for a KRAS mutation?
You should discuss KRAS testing and your treatment options with your doctor
- If you are currently being treated with Erbitux® (cetuximab) or Vectibix™ (panitumumab) for colorectal cancer.
- Before beginning Erbitux or Vectibix treatment, either as single medicines or in combination with chemotherapy.
- When you are first diagnosed with advanced colon or rectal cancer and are planning a treatment strategy.
Recent research has shown that people with a certain change or mutation in the KRAS gene in their tumor do not benefit from either Erbitux or Vectibix. This is true whether the medicine is used alone (monotherapy) or added to chemotherapy.
You can find more information about KRAS mutations, what research is saying about KRAS, decision-making about KRAS testing, and where you can be tested in the Patient Information pages of the C3 Fightcolorectalcancer.org web site.
In discussing whether or not you should have your tumor tested for a KRAS mutation with your doctor, consider the following:
- Evidence in several clinical trials have shown no benefit when Erbitux or Vectibix was added to chemotherapy or used alone for patients whose tumors were KRAS mutated.
- There can still be a benefit from chemotherapy or other biologic agents such as Avastin® in patients with KRAS mutations as well as patients with wild-type (normal) KRAS.
- Patients with wild-type (normal) KRAS had a significant increase in responses and time to cancer progression when Erbitux was added to either FOLFIRI or FOLFOX chemotherapy as an initial treatment for colorectal cancer.
- Testing for KRAS is available and may be reimbursed by your insurance. Co-pay assistance and help for the uninsured is also available.
- The presence or severity of skin rash doesn’t have anything to do with KRAS status and can’t be used to determine if your tumor has a KRAS mutation or is wild-type.
- Testing can be done with the sections of your tumor that were preserved in paraffin blocks at the time of your surgery. These blocks are available.
- Since the mutation is in the tumor, a blood test will not tell you if you have a KRAS mutation. Your family members cannot inherit this mutation.
If you have more questions about KRAS mutations and what they mean to you and your treatment, you can call the C3 Answer Line at 877-4CRC-111 (877-427-2111).