Afatinib Extend Time to Tumor Progression in Advanced Lung Cancer

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Currently, no treatment exists for lung cancer patients with epidermal growth-factor receptor (EGFR) mutation who have failed tyrosine kinase inhibitors, getifinib (Iressa) or erlotinib (Tarceva). 

However, an investigational drug, afatinib (BIBW 2992), was recently found to increase progression-free survival and tumor shrinkage in this group of patients. 

In the LUX-Lung 1 study, 585 nonsmall-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with EGFR mutation and with stage IIIB/IV adenocarcinoma of the lung were randomized to receive the experimental compound, afatinib, plus best supportive care or placebo plus best supportive care.  

To be included in the study, all patients were required to have tumor progression after treatment with 12 weeks of gefitinib or erlotinib therapy and have failed 1 or 2 lines of chemotherapy (including a platinum-based one). 

At 8 weeks, more patients in the afatinib group experienced tumor shrinkage when compared with placebo. 

Furthermore, the time to tumor progression was significantly longer in the afatinib group (3.3 months) than in the placebo group (1.1 months).  

This study clearly demonstrated that afatinib has a role in the future treatment of NSCLC.  However, more studies are probably required before this drug can gain approved from FDA or European Commission. 

Source: Presented at the 35th European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress: Abstract LBA1, October 11, 2010. 

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