Annemarie Boleij et al., RAS testing practices and RAS mutation prevalence among patients with metastatic colorectal cancer: results from a Europe-wide survey of pathology centres. BMC Cancer

Annemarie Boleij1, Véronique Tack2, Aliki Taylor3, George Kafatos3, Sophie Jenkins-Anderson4, Lien Tembuyser2, Els Dequeker2 and J. Han van Krieken1

1Department of Pathology, Radboud University Medical Centre
2Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Leuven
3Centre for Observational Research, Amgen Ltd
4Adelphi Research (Global)


Treatment options for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) include anti-epithelial growth factor therapies, which, in Europe, are indicated in patients with RAS wild-type tumours only and require prior mutation testing of “hot-spot” codons in exons 2, 3 and 4 of KRAS and NRAS. The aim of this study was to evaluate the implementation of RAS testing methods and estimate the RAS mutation prevalence in mCRC patients.

Overall, 194 pathology laboratories were invited to complete an online survey. Participating laboratories were asked to provide information on their testing practices and aggregated RAS mutation data from 20 to 30 recently tested patients with mCRC.

A total of 96 (49.5 %) laboratories across 24 European countries completed the survey. All participants tested KRAS exon 2, codons 12 and 13. Seventy (72.9 %) laboratories reported complete testing of all RAS hot-spot codons, and three (3.1 %) reported only testing KRAS exon 2. Sixty-nine (71.9 %) laboratories reported testing >80 patients yearly for RAS mutation status. Testing was typically performed within the reporting institution (93.8 %, n?=?90), at the request of a treating oncologist (89.5 %, n?=?85); testing methodology varied by laboratory and by individual codon tested. For laboratory RAS testing, turnaround times were ?10 working days for the majority of institutions (90.6 %, n?=?87). The overall crude RAS mutation prevalence was 48.5 % (95 % confidence interval: 46.4–50.6) for laboratories testing all RAS hot-spot codons. Prevalence estimates varied significantly by primary tumour location, approximate number of patients tested yearly and indication given for RAS testing.

Our findings indicate a rapid uptake of RAS testing in the majority of European pathology laboratories.


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