Afatinib Shows Clinical Benefit for Lung Cancer Patients with Brain Metastases

“Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with common epidermal growth factor (EGFR) mutations and brain metastases showed improved progression-free survival (PFS) and response from the EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) afatinib compared to standard platinum doublet chemotherapy.

“More than 25% of with advanced NSCLC experience progression to the brain from their primary lung and this number increases to 44-63% for those NSCLC tumors driven by EGFR mutations. Prognosis is poor and typically ranges for 1-5 months for those with . EGFR TKIs are highly effective therapies for advanced NSCLC driven by EGFR mutations, especially the common mutations, exon 19 deletions and L858R point mutations. Even though there are a number of EGFR TKIs approved for first-line therapy of EGFR mutation positive NSCLC, there is a scarcity of prospective data for EGFR TKIs in patients with brain metastases.”


Meta-Analysis Shows Increased Benefit of EGFR Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors vs Chemotherapy in Subgroups of Patients With EGFR-Mutant NSCLC

“In a meta-analysis reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Lee et al found that increased progression-free survival benefit of EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor treatment vs chemotherapy was exhibited in patients with exon 19 deletion, never-smokers, and women.

“The meta-analysis included seven trials (N = 1,649) comparing EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors with chemotherapy in patients with newly diagnosed advanced EGFR-mutant disease. Overall, tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy was associated with significantly prolonged progression-free survival (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.37, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.32–0.42)…

“The investigators concluded: ‘Although EGFR [tyrosine kinase inhibitors] significantly prolonged [progression-free survival] overall and in all subgroups, compared with chemotherapy, greater benefits were observed in those with exon 19 deletions, never-smokers, and women. These findings should enhance drug development and economic analyses, as well as the design and interpretation of clinical trials.’ “


Erlotinib Trial Indicates That It Could Be Used Before Surgery in Stage III Lung Cancer

“Erlotinib showed promise as neoadjuvant therapy in patients with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutant stage IIIA-N2 non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who demonstrated good disease control with tolerable toxicity following treatment.

“Dr Baohui Han, Pulmonary Department, Shanghai Chest Hospital, Shanghai, China presented findings from a single arm, phase II clinical trial during the New Treatment Avenues Proffered Papers session at the European Lung Cancer Conference, 15 to 18 April 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland. The trial aimed to evaluate efficacy and safety of erlotinib as neoadjuvant treatment in patients with stage IIIA-N2 NSCLC and activating EGFR mutation.

“The trial’s primary endpoint was radical resection rate. Secondary endpoints included pathological complete response rate (pCR), objective response rate (ORR), disease free survival (DFS), overall survival (OS), safety profile, and explorative biomarkers.

“This study screened 155 patients and subsequently enrolled 44 patients with stage IIIA N2 NSCLC and 25 patients with IIIA N2 NSCLC plus activating EGFR (exon 19 or 21) mutations. All patients had ECOG performance status 1 and had been previously untreated for stage IIIA-N2 NSCLC, that was confirmed by endobronchial ultrasound.”


Blood Samples as Surrogates for Tumor Biopsies in Patients with Lung Cancer

“A study examined the feasibility of using circulating free DNA (cfDNA) from blood samples of patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer as a surrogate for tumor biopsies to determine tumor-causing epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations and then correlate that with expected patient outcomes, according to a study published online by JAMA Oncology.

“The analysis was a secondary objective of the EURTAC trial, which demonstrated the efficacy of erlotinib compared with standard chemotherapy for the first-line treatment of European patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with oncogenic EGFR mutations (exon 19 deletion or L858R mutations in exon 21) in tumor tissue.

“Rafael Rosell, M.D., of the Hospital Germans Trias I Pujol, Badalona, Spain, and coauthors examined EGFR mutations in cfDNA isolated from 97 baseline blood samples.

“Results show that in 76 samples from 97 (78 percent) patients, EGFR mutations in cfDNA were detected. Median overall survival was shorter in patients with the L858R mutation in cfDNA than in those with the exon 19 deletion (13.7 vs. 30 months). For patients with the L858R mutation in tissue, median overall survival was 13.7 months for patients with the L858R mutation in cfDNA and 27.7 months for those in whom the mutation was not detected in cfDNA. For the 76 patients with EGFR mutations in cfDNA, only erlotinib treatment was an independent predictor of longer disease progression-free survival.”


Afatinib Works Best in Patients Whose Lung Cancer Has Specific Mutation in EGFR Gene

The gist: Afatinib (Gilotrif) works better than chemotherapy for people with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors have a specific mutation in the EGFR gene. This mutation is known as exon 19 deletion. In a recent clinical trial, some patients with exon 19 deletion were treated with Gilotrif and some with chemotherapy. The patients who received Gilotrif lived significantly longer than the patients who received chemotherapy. All patients had stage IIIB or IV lung adenocarcinoma.

“Patients with lung adenocarcinoma who harbored exon 19 deletion EGFR mutations experienced significantly longer OS when treated with first-line afatinib instead of chemotherapy, according to analyses of results from two phase 3 trials.

“However, researchers did not observe the survival benefit among patients with other types of EGFR mutations.

“ ‘These data provide important evidence about the use of afatinib in patients whose tumors have the del19 mutation and tell us that the standard treatments and approaches should no longer be assumed equivalent for every EGFR mutation,’ Lecia V. Sequist, MD, MPH, medical oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, said in a press release.”


FDA Approves Afatinib/Gilotrif for Lung Cancer Treatment

Based on the positive results of a recent clinical trial, the FDA approved afatinib for first-line treatment of patients with late-stage, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have a mutation in the EGFR gene. The drug, which will be marketed under the name Gilotrif, is specifically intended for patients with two particular EGFR mutations: exon 19 deletion and exon 21 L858R substitution. The FDA also approved the therascreen EGFR RGQ PCR Kit, a companion diagnostic used to test for EGFR mutations. Afatinib differs from other EGFR inhibitors like erlotinib (Tarceva) and gefitinib (Iressa) in that it irreversibly destroys the EGFR protein, instead of just reversibly blocking it, and also inhibits several other related proteins.