Epidermal growth factor receptor signaling pathway is frequently altered in ampullary carcinoma at protein and genetic levels

Kaidi Mikhitarian, Maressa Pollen, Zhiguo Zhao, Yu Shyr, Nipun B. Merchant, Alexander Parikh, Frank Revetta, M. Kay Washington, Cindy Vnencak-Jones, Chanjuan Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Our objective was to explore alteration of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling pathway in ampullary carcinoma. Immunohistochemical studies were employed to evaluate expression of amphiregulin as well as expression and activation of EGFR. A lab-developed assay was used to identify mutations in the EGFR pathway genes, including KRAS, BRAF, PIK3CA, PTEN, and AKT1. A total of 52 ampullary carcinomas were identified, including 25 intestinal-type and 24 pancreatobiliary-type tumors, with the intestinal type being associated with a younger age at diagnosis (P=0.03) and a better prognosis (P<0.01). Expression of amphiregulin correlated with better differentiation (P<0.01), but no difference was observed between two major histologic types. Expression and activation of EGFR was more commonly seen in the pancreatobiliary type (P<0.01). Mutations were detected in 50% of the pancreatobiliary type and 60% of the intestinal type. KRAS was the most common gene mutated in the pancreatobiliary type (42%) as well as the intestinal type (52%). Other mutations detected included PIK3CA, SMAD4 and BRAF. KRAS mutations at codons 12 and 13 did not adversely affect overall survival. In conclusion, EGFR expression and activation were different between intestinal-and pancreatobiliary-type ampullary carcinoma. KRAS mutation was common in both histologic types; however, the incidence appeared to be lower in the pancreatobiliary type compared with its pancreatic counterpart, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Mutational analysis of the EGFR pathway genes may provide important insights into personalized treatment for patients with ampullary carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)665-674
Number of pages10
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • KRAS
  • PIK3CA
  • ampullary carcinoma
  • epidermal growth factor receptor pathway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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