The association of rash severity with overall survival: findings from patients receiving erlotinib for pancreatic cancer in the community setting

Pancreas. 2013 Jan;42(1):32-6. doi: 10.1097/MPA.0b013e318254f19a.


Objectives: This retrospective study examined pancreatic cancer patients who received combination gemcitabine and erlotinib to determine if the association between rash and outcomes observed in clinical trials would be observed in 'real-world' community oncology settings.

Methods: Medical records from 10 community oncology practices were used to identify eligible patients. Rash severity was classified as High (moderate/severe) versus Low (absent/mild) based on medical record review. Kaplan-Meier analysis assessed progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) by rash status from a landmark of 42 days after treatment initiation. Cox regression with time-varying covariates tested whether high-severity rash predicted longer OS and PFS.

Results: The High Severity group (n = 34) had longer median OS from the landmark than the Low Severity group (n = 134; 7.58 months vs 5.03 months, P = 0.0339). Cox regression analysis (n = 174) confirmed a reduced risk of death with High Rash Severity (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.67, P = 0.0389). Progression-free survival results showed a similar pattern (median PFS 2.37 months from landmark vs 2.04 months for High vs Low Severity groups, P = 0.0485).

Conclusions: Results from this community sample were consistent with findings from randomized clinical trials, showing that longer OS is predicted by high-severity rash in erlotinib-treated pancreatic cancer patients.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Community Health Services
  • Deoxycytidine / adverse effects
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • ErbB Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism
  • Erlotinib Hydrochloride
  • Exanthema / chemically induced*
  • Exanthema / pathology
  • Female
  • Gemcitabine
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Quinazolines / adverse effects*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tennessee
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Quinazolines
  • Deoxycytidine
  • Erlotinib Hydrochloride
  • EGFR protein, human
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Gemcitabine