Background: Gefitinib and cetuximab are both epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) target therapies used to treat patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with different mechanisms. To clarify the effectiveness of cetuximab after failure of gefitinib treatment, we investigated the clinical features of patients with NSCLC who received cetuximab-containing chemotherapy after failure of gefitinib.
Patients and methods: We analyzed the clinical data and mutational studies of patients with NSCLC in the National Taiwan University Hospital who had received gefitinib and, after failure of gefitinib, cetuximab-containing chemotherapy.
Results: Fifteen patients who received cetuximab-containing chemotherapy after failure of gefitinib were identified. Four were responders to gefitinib therapy, and 3 were responders to cetuximab-containing chemotherapy. Ten were sequenced for EGFR and KRAS mutations. Six of the 10 patients had EGFR mutations, and all 10 patients had wild-type (WT) KRAS. In the 4 patients who had the gefitinib-resistant EGFR T790M mutation, 2 were responders to cetuximab-containing chemotherapy. The other cetuximab responder had WT EGFR.
Conclusion: Cetuximab might add benefit in treatment after failure of gefitinib, regardless of EGFR mutational status. Treatment with cetuximab should be further explored, even in patients who have previously received gefitinib treatment.