Long-term survival in three patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer treated with gefitinib

Lung Cancer. 2006 May;52(2):253-5. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2006.01.008. Epub 2006 Mar 22.


Gefitinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), produces radiographic regression and symptom relief in patients with refractory advanced non-small cell lung cancer. However, it remains controversial whether gefitinib improves patient survival. We report three cases of refractory metastatic non-small cell lung cancer who have survived approximately 3 years since they first started gefitinib. These long-term survivors were Japanese female non-smokers with adenocarcinoma, who often had multiple lung metastases and were effectively re-treated with gefitinib. One patient had a surgical specimen available for DNA extraction and showed deletions in exon 19 of EGFR. Our experience suggests that gefitinib may improve long-term survival in selected patients. Further studies are required to identify biomarkers downstream of the EGFR mutations that are involved in multiple lung metastases and which could identify those patients who may benefit from gefitinib re-treatment.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / mortality*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / secondary
  • ErbB Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gefitinib
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Quinazolines / therapeutic use*
  • Survival Rate
  • Time Factors


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Quinazolines
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Gefitinib