Epidermal growth factor receptor-tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy is effective as first-line treatment of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer with mutated EGFR: A meta-analysis from six phase III randomized controlled trials

Int J Cancer. 2012 Sep 1;131(5):E822-9. doi: 10.1002/ijc.27396. Epub 2012 Jan 27.


Gefiinib and erlotinib are two similar small molecules of selective and reversible epidermal growth factor receptor-tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs), which have been approved for second-line or third-line indication in previously treated advanced Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. The results of comparing the EGFR-TKI with standard platinum-based doublet chemotherapy as the first-line treatment in advanced NSCLC patients with activated EGFR mutation were still controversial. A meta-analysis was performed to derive a more precise estimation of these regimens. Finally, six eligible trials involved 1,021 patients were identified. The patients receiving EGFR-TKI as front-line therapy had a significantly longer progression-free survival (PFS) than patients treated with chemotherapy [median PFS was 9.5 versus 5.9 months; hazard ratio (HR)=0.37; 95% confidence intervals (CI)=0.27-0.52; p<0.001]. The overall response rate (ORR) of EGFR-TKI was 66.60%, whereas the ORR of chemotherapy regimen was 30.62%, which was also a statistically significant favor for EGFR-TKI [relative risk (RR)=5.68; 95% CI=3.17-10.18; p<0.001]. The overall survival (OS) was numerically longer in the patients received EGFR-TKI than patients treated by chemotherapy, although the difference did not reach a statistical significance (median OS was 30.5 vs. 23.6 months; HR=0.94; 95% CI=0.77-1.15; p=0.57). Comparing with first-line chemotherapy, treatment of EGFR-TKI achieved a statistical significantly longer PFS, higher ORR and numerically longer OS in the advanced NSCLC patients harboring activated EGFR mutations, thus, it should be the first choice in the previously untreated NSCLC patients with activated EGFR mutation.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / secondary
  • Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Prognosis
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • EGFR protein, human
  • ErbB Receptors