BACKGROUND: A major response to pre-hepatectomy chemotherapy has been associated with improved survival in patients who undergo resection of colorectal liver metastases (CRLM). However, the role of tumor biology, as exemplified by overall and codon-specific KRAS mutational status, in predicting response to chemotherapy is not well defined.METHODS: Pathologic response was characterized as minor or major depending on the percentage of remnant viable cells (>50% vs <50%, respectively). Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with major response.RESULTS: 319 patients met inclusion criteria. 229 patients had a KRAS wild-type (wtKRAS) tumor and 90 harbored KRAS mutations (mutKRAS). A major pathologic response was more commonly noted in patients with wtKRAS compared to mutKRAS (48.5% vs 33.3%, P=0.01) and wtKRAS status remained independently associated with a major response (P=0.04). On a codon-specific level, major pathologic response occurred less frequently in those with codon 13 mutations (17.7%) compared to those with codon 12 (35.4%), and other KRAS mutations (33.3%). Importantly, codon 13 mutations were independently associated with minor pathologic response (P=0.023).CONCLUSIONS: Patients with wtKRAS tumors appear to have the highest likelihood of experiencing a major response after preoperative chemotherapy. Future studies in "all-comer" cohorts are needed to confirm these findings and further investigate the response of codon 13 mutations.
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