WEDNESDAY, July 6 (HealthDay News) -- Erlotinib is superior to chemotherapy for improving progression free survival (PFS) in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations, with acceptable toxicity, according to a study presented at the 14th World Conference on Lung Cancer, hosted by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer and held from July 3 to 7 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Radj Gervais, M.D., of the Centre François Baclesse in Caen, France, and colleagues compared the efficacy of erlotinib with that of platinum-based chemotherapy as the first line of treatment in patients with NSCLC and EGFR mutations. A total of 174 participants were randomized to receive either erlotinib or chemotherapy between 2007 and 2011; and an interim analysis was available for 153 of the participants (76 treated with chemotherapy and 77 with erlotinib). PFS was the primary end point. Response to drugs, overall survival, and toxicity profiles were also assessed.
The investigators found a response rate of 54.5 percent in the erlotinib group and 10.5 percent in the chemotherapy group. PFS was significantly lower in the chemotherapy groups compared with the erlotinib group (5.2 versus 9.4 months; hazard ratio [HR], 0.42). Median survival was lower in the chemotherapy group compared with the erlotinib group (18.8 versus 22.9 months; HR, 0.80; P = 0.42). Diarrhea, asthenia, and rash were the common toxicities associated with erlotinib; whereas, asthenia, anemia, nausea, and neutropenia were associated with chemotherapy.
"Erlotinib as first-line treatment for advanced NSCLC patients with EGFR mutations improves PFS, with acceptable toxicity, compared to platinum-based chemotherapy," the authors write.