Targeted Oncology

, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 663–675 | Cite as

EGFR Mutation Testing of non-squamous NSCLC: Impact and Uptake during Implementation of Testing Guidelines in a Population-Based Registry Cohort from Northern New Zealand

  • Mark McKeageEmail author
  • Mark Elwood
  • Sandar Tin Tin
  • Prashannata Khwaounjoo
  • Phyu Aye
  • Angie Li
  • Karen Sheath
  • Phillip Shepherd
  • George Laking
  • Nicola Kingston
  • Christopher Lewis
  • Donald Love
Original Research Article



Since 2013, clinical practice guidelines recommend EGFR mutation testing of non-squamous NSCLC to select advanced-stage patients for first-line treatment using EGFR-TKIs.


We aimed to determine population-based trends in the real-world uptake and impact in routine practice of these recently updated testing guidelines.

Patients and Methods

A population-based observational study was conducted of notifications to the New Zealand Cancer Registry of patients eligible for EGFR testing diagnosed in northern New Zealand between January 2010 and April 2014. The main study variable was EGFR mutation testing. Main outcome measures (overall survival and dispensing of EGFR-TKIs) were extracted from prospectively archived electronic databases until October 2015.


The population-based cohort of 1857 patients had an average age of 70 years. Most had adenocarcinoma and metastatic disease at diagnosis. EGFR testing was undertaken in 500 patients (27%) with mutations detected in 109 patients (22%). EGFR testing increased during the period of study from <5% to 67% of patients (P < 0.0001). Full uptake of testing by all eligible patients was limited by a lack of availability of specimens for testing and variable testing referral practices. The proportion of patients treated with EGFR-TKIs decreased during the same time period, both among untested patients (from 12.2% to 2.8% (P < 0.0001)) and in the population as a whole (from 13.7% to 10.6% (P < 0.05)). EGFR testing was associated with prolonged overall survival (Adjusted HR = 0.76 (95% CI, 0.65–0.89) Log-rank P < 0.0001) due at least in part to the much longer overall survival achieved by mutation-positive patients, of whom 79% received EGFR-TKIs. Compared to untested EGFR-TKI-treated patients, mutation-positive EGFR-TKI-treated patients received EGFR-TKIs for longer, and survived longer both from the start of EGFR-TKI treatment and date of their diagnosis.


In this real world setting, high uptake of EGFR testing was achieved and associated with major changes in EGFR-TKI prescribing and improved health outcomes. Modifiable factors determined testing uptake.

Study registration ACTRN12615000998549.



We thank the many patients who contributed to this study. Maria Luisa Bituin contributed to the data collection. We thank the Health Research Council of New Zealand for their grant funding support (Project grants 13/981 and 15/087). Sandar Tin Tin was supported by the Auckland Medical Research Foundation/Perpetual David and Cassie Anderson Postdoctoral Fellowship and Kelliher Charitable Trust Emerging Researcher Start-up Award.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


The research was supported by grants from the Health Research Council of New Zealand (grant numbers 13/981 and 15/087).

Conflict of Interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

11523_2017_515_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (239 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 239 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark McKeage
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Mark Elwood
    • 1
  • Sandar Tin Tin
    • 1
  • Prashannata Khwaounjoo
    • 1
  • Phyu Aye
    • 1
  • Angie Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Karen Sheath
    • 4
  • Phillip Shepherd
    • 1
  • George Laking
    • 2
  • Nicola Kingston
    • 4
  • Christopher Lewis
    • 2
  • Donald Love
    • 4
  1. 1.University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Auckland City HospitalAucklandNew Zealand
  3. 3.Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology and Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre, School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medical and Health SciencesUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  4. 4.LabPlusAuckland City HospitalAucklandNew Zealand

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