To define the efficacy of gefitinib in chemotherapy-naive patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer, we carried out a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Medline, Embase, the Cochrane controlled trials register and the Science Citation Index were searched. Seven trials were identified, covering a total of 4656 subjects. As compared with chemotherapy, gefitinib was effective in the selected patients: the corresponding summary hazard ratios (gefitinib versus chemotherapy) for progression-free survival were 0.43 (0.32, 0.58) (P < 0.001) for the subgroup of patients with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutant treated with gefitinib monotherapy, 0.71 (0.60, 0.83) (P < 0.001) for the subgroup of patients with lung adenocarcinoma; but was detrimental for the patients without EGFR mutant treated by gefitinib monotherapy [hazard ratio = 2.16 (1.17, 3.99), P = 0.01]. Significantly improved survival was found in the gefitinib group compared with the control in the subgroup of patients with lung adenocarcinoma [hazard ratio = 0.89 (0.81, 0.99); P = 0.03], but not found in the subgroup of patients with EGFR mutant [hazard ratio = 0.87 (0.68, 1.12); P = 0.28]. In conclusion, first-line treatment with gefitinib conferred prolonged progression-free survival than treatment with systemic chemotherapy in a molecularly or histologically defined population of patients with non-small cell lung cancer, and improved survival in the subgroup of patients with lung adenocarcinoma.
Copyright © 2011 The Royal College of Radiologists. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.