A phase II trial of gefitinib monotherapy in Chemotherapy-Naïve patients of 75 years or older with advanced non-small cell lung cancer

Noriyuki Ebi, Hiroshi Semba, Sho J.I. Tokunaga, Koichi Takayama, Hiroshi Wataya, Takashige Kuraki, Hidehiko Yamamoto, Shin J.I. Akamine, Isamu Okamoto, Yoichi Nakanishi

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46 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Gefitinib has shown modest activity in patients with recurrent non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) after platinum-based chemotherapy. However, the activity of gefitinib as first-line chemotherapy remains unclear, especially unknown in elderly patients. A multicenter phase II trial was conducted to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of gefitinib for elderly patients with chemotherapy-naïve NSCLC. Methods: Elderly chemotherapy-naïve patients with advanced NSCLC, ECOG PS of 0-2, and adequate organ functions received 250 mg/day of gefitinib. The primary objective of this study was to determine the objective response rate (RR). Secondary endpoints were tolerability, disease-related symptom using lung cancer subscale (LCS) in FACT-L, progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). We investigated mutation status of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene in cases with available tumor samples. Results: Fifty patients were enrolled, of whom 49 were eligible. Median age (range) was 80 (75-90) years. Thirty-two patients were female (65%) and 40 patients had adenocarcinoma (82%). The objective RR was 25% (CI 95%, 13-39). Median survival time was 10 months (CI 95%, 7-20) and 1-year survival rate was 50%. The most frequent adverse events were skin disorders (76%). Fifteen patients (30%) experienced toxicities > grade 3. There were four patients with possible interstitial lung disease including two treatment-related deaths. Symptom improvement rate using LCS was 49% at 4 weeks of gefitinib therapy. Tumor samples from 17 patients were analyzed for EGFR mutation status. EGFR mutations were detected in tumor tissues from 7 patients, of which 5 had partial responses (71%). Conclusions: Gefitinib monotherapy is effective and relatively well tolerated in chemotherapy-naïve elderly patients with advanced NSCLC. Gefitinib has potential as a first-line therapeutic option in elderly patients with advanced NSCLC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1166-1171
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Thoracic Oncology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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