In a nutshell
This study looked at the targeted therapy osimertinib (Targrisso) and its effectiveness at managing disease symptoms in patients with lung cancer. The study concluded that osimertinib was more effective than chemotherapy at improving disease symptoms in these patients.
New anti-cancer drugs target specific genetic mutations (changes) involved in cancer. One mutation linked to cancer is the EGFR mutation and drugs have been developed to target this called EGFR-TKIs. Osimertinib is an example of an EGFR-TKI. It is used when patients develop resistance to other EGFR-TKIs. This treatment is often used to manage symptoms rather than cure the disease.
There are many symptoms associated with lung cancer including cough, chest pain, appetite loss, fatigue and dyspnea (difficulty breathing). It is important to know what sort of treatment is more effective at managing symptoms to improve a patients’ quality of life.
Methods & findings
This study compared symptoms and functioning of lung cancer patients treated with osimertinib compared to chemotherapy. The patients used self-reported questionnaires on disease specific symptoms and quality of life. The authors compared time to deterioration of individual symptoms between each treatment group.
279 patients were treated with osimertinib. 140 patients were treated with chemotherapy.
Questionnaires were completed by 82-88% of patients at the beginning of the trial. 3 months after beginning treatment, between 73-84% of patients completed the questionnaire.
Time to deterioration was longer with osimertinib than chemotherapy. This was true for cough, chest pain and dyspnea. 37% of osimertinib patients had improved health status and quality of life compared to 22% of chemotherapy patients.
There was a 2.5 fold higher proportion of patients who had improved appetite with osimertinib compared to chemotherapy. There was an almost 2-fold higher proportion of patients who had improvements in fatigue in with osimertinib compared to chemotherapy.
The bottom line
The authors concluded that treatment with osimertinib resulted in improved disease symptoms compared to chemotherapy.
The fine print
This study was funded by manufacturers of osimertinib.
Published By :
Journal of clinical oncology
May 07, 2018