Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most frequent neoplastic disorder and is a main cause of tumor-related mortality, as many patients progress to stage IV metastatic CRC. Standard care consists of combination chemotherapy (FOLFIRI or FOLFOX). Patients with WT KRAS typing are eligible to receive anti-EGFR therapy combined with chemotherapy. Unfortunately, predicting efficacy of CRC anti-EGFR therapy has remained challenging. Here we uncovered that the EGFR pathway component RasGRP1 acts as a CRC tumor suppressor in the context of aberrant Wnt signaling. We found that RasGRP1 suppresses EGF-driven proliferation of colonic epithelial organoids. Having established that RasGRP1 dosage levels impact biology, we next focused on CRC patients. Mining 5 different data platforms, we establish that RasGRP1 expression levels decrease with CRC progression and predict poor clinical outcome of patients. Last, deletion of 1 or 2 Rasgrp1 alleles made CRC spheroids more susceptible to EGFR inhibition. Retrospective analysis of the CALGB 80203 clinical trial showed that addition of anti-EGFR therapy to chemotherapy significantly improved outcome for CRC patients when tumors expressed low levels of RasGRP1 suppressor. In sum, our data support RasGRP1 as a biomarker in the EGFR pathway that has potential relevance to anti-EGFR therapy for CRC patients.
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