Introduction: We evaluated the efficacy of gefitinib monotherapy prospectively in patients with advanced or pretreated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) harboring epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations.
Methods: Patients with NSCLC were examined for EGFR exon 19 deletion mutations by fragment analysis and for EGFR L858R point mutations by the Cycleave polymerase chain reaction technique. EGFR mutation-positive patients with locally advanced, metastatic, or recurrent/refractory NSCLC that was not curable with surgery or thoracic radiotherapy were candidates for gefitinib treatment administered at 250 mg/day until disease progression.
Results: Mutations of the EGFR gene were detected in 27 (41%) of 66 patients. Ten had exon 19 deletion, and 17 had L858R. Twenty-one patients harboring EGFR mutations were treated with gefitinib and were considered assessable for responses and adverse events. Nineteen patients with EGFR mutations achieved objective responses (three complete responses and 16 partial responses), resulting in an overall response rate of 90.5% (95% confidence interval, 69.6%-98.8%). The median progression-free survival was 7.7 months (95% confidence interval, 6.0 mo to not reached). The median overall survival has not been reached. Common adverse events were skin toxicity, diarrhea, and elevated aminotransferases, but no pulmonary toxicity was observed.
Conclusions: Detection of common EGFR mutations seems to be useful for selecting patients with NSCLC who would likely benefit from gefitinib monotherapy.