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Posted by on Nov 29, 2019 in Lung cancer | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study wanted to see how well the medication afatinib (Giotrif) works in real-life settings, outside of clinical trials in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The study found that patients treated with afatinib had a good response rate and survival.

Some background

There are many treatments for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Some NSCLCs have an abnormality (mutation) in a gene for the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). This leads to more rapid cancer growth. Usually, this type of NSCLC called EGFR-mutant is treated using a medicine that targets the EGFR on cancer cells.

Afatinib is a medication that targets the EGFR-mutant NSCLC. Its safety and effectiveness has been studied on selected patients in clinical trials. However, it is not known how afatinib will work in the real world outside clinical trials in patients with EGFR-mutant advanced NSCLC. 

Methods & findings

This study had 85 patients. All of the patients had advanced NSCLC. All of the patients had the EGFR mutation. Afatinib was the first treatment given in all these patients. The patients were followed after treatment for an average of 20 months. 

On average, 76.5% of patients responded to the treatment, where the tumor decreased in size. 95.3% of patients achieved disease control, where the cancer did not grow in size. 

After 20 months, 65.9% of patients had the cancer continue to grow. On average patients went for 14.2 months without the cancer growing. The average overall survival from the time of treatment was 28.9 months. 

10% of patients experienced side effects. The most common were acne (70.6%), diarrhea (54.1%), nail infection (40%), mouth sores (27.1%), and tiredness (16.5%).  

The bottom line

This study concluded that afatinib is an effective medication in treating advanced non-small cell lung cancer with EGFR mutations outside of clinical trials. 

The fine print

This was a small study. The study has been analyzed quite soon after treatment has stopped. The results in terms of survival may be different in a few years' time. 

Published By :

BMC cancer

Date :

Sep 10, 2019

Original Title :

Real-world experience of first-line afatinib in patients with EGFR-mutant advanced NSCLC: a multicenter observational study.

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