Gefitinib treatment affects androgen levels in non-small-cell lung cancer patients

Br J Cancer. 2005 May 23;92(10):1877-80. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6602585.


Gefitinib, an inhibitor of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR, HER1/ErbB1) tyrosine kinase, has been shown to have clinical activity against non-small-cell lung cancers (NSCLCs), especially in women nonsmokers with adenocarcinomas. The aim of the present study was to clarify the relationship between androgen levels and gefitinib treatment in patients with advanced NSCLCs. Sera from 67 cases (36 men and 31 women) were obtained pretreatment and during treatment with gefitinib monotherapy (days 14-18) for examination of testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEA), and dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS) levels. Testosterone and DHEA during treatment were significantly lower than the pretreatment values in both women and men, and the DHEAS levels during treatment were also significantly lowered in women. Gefitinib treatment significantly suppressed androgen levels, especially in women who had no smoking history. In addition, hormone levels in women responding to gefitinib were significantly lower during the treatment than in women who did not respond. Gefitinib-associated decrease in serum androgen levels may play a role in its clinical efficacy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / blood*
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate / blood*
  • ErbB Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Female
  • Gefitinib
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Quinazolines / pharmacology*
  • Quinazolines / therapeutic use*
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Testosterone / blood*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Quinazolines
  • Testosterone
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Gefitinib