In a nutshell
This study determined whether osimertinib (Tagrisso) was more effective than erlotinib (Tarceva) in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with the EGFR mutation. The study found that treatment with osimertinib improved survival compared to standard-care treatment for these patients.
There are a number of treatments for NSCLC. Osimertinib is a newer treatment. It targets cancer that has a mutation called the EGFR mutation. This mutation occurs in a receptor found on cancer cells called the epidermal growth factor receptor.
Cancer cells with the EGFR mutation can be targeted by medications that use that receptor to kill the cell. Usually, NSCLC with the EGFR mutation is treated with gefitinib (Iressa) or erlotinib. The long-term outcomes after treatment with osimertinib compared to these standard-care treatments remain under investigation.
Methods & findings
This study included 556 patients with advanced-stage NSCLC that had the EGFR mutation. All patients did not receive previous treatment. 279 patients were treated with osimertinib. 277 patients were treated with erlotinib (a standard-care treatment).
More patients in the standard-care group stopped treatment compared to the osimertinib group (77% vs. 49%). On average, patients in the osimertinib group stayed in the study for longer compared to the standard-care group (20.8 months vs. 11.5 months).
At follow-up, 26% of patients in the osimertinib group had tumor growth. In the standard-care group, this rate was 28%.
59% (osimertinib) and 61% (standard-care) of patients started a different treatment after stopping treatment in this study. On average, patients in the osimertinib group started a different treatment much later than the standard-care group (23.5 months vs. 13.8 months).
The bottom line
The study concluded that osimertinib significantly improved outcomes for patients with NSCLC with the EGFR mutation compared to standard-care treatment. The authors suggest that osimertinib may be an effective first-line treatment for these patients.
The fine print
If it was found that the patients were not responding to the treatment they were assigned, they were able to switch into the other treatment group. Also, several patients stopped treatment. This may limit the conclusions that may be drawn from these results.
Talk to your oncologist to find out whether treatment with osimertinib is right for you.
Published By :
Clinical Cancer Research
Jan 18, 2019