Gefitinib (ZD1839) in previously treated advanced non-small-cell lung cancer: experience from a single institution

Cancer Control. Sep-Oct 2003;10(5):388-95. doi: 10.1177/107327480301000506.


Background: We conducted an analysis of gefitinib in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) to assess the antitumor efficacy of this epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor.

Methods: Our single-center, prospective landmark analysis included 183 patients with advanced NSCLC who received 250 mg of gefitinib orally once daily in an expanded-use program at our institution. Thirty-three of the 183 patients were previously untreated. The patients included in this analysis had all received at least 12 weeks of gefitinib.

Results: The objective tumor response rate was 3.8%, but an additional 53.5% of patients experienced clinically meaningful disease stabilization. Median progression-free survival time was 3.6 months, and median overall survival time was 8.8 months. The 1-year survival rate for the entire cohort was 35%. Predictors of longer survival included female gender, adenocarcinoma or bronchoalveolar carcinoma histology, and an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0 or 1. Adverse events were generally mild (grade 1 or 2) and consisted mainly of skin reactions and diarrhea.

Conclusions: In this single-center experience, gefitinib demonstrated clinically significant antitumor activity and provided good palliation in a predominantly pretreated group of patients. Our results, which are likely to be reproducible in a community setting, demonstrated a 1-year survival rate of 35% in a cohort of patients who were able to take the drug for at least 12 weeks.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase I

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Female
  • Gefitinib
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quinazolines / therapeutic use*
  • Survival Rate


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Quinazolines
  • Epidermal Growth Factor
  • Gefitinib