Background: NEJ002 study, comparing gefitinib with carboplatin (CBDCA) and paclitaxel (PTX; Taxol) as the first-line treatment for advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) harboring an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation, previously reported superiority of gefitinib over CBDCA/PTX on progression-free survival (PFS). Subsequent analysis was carried out mainly regarding overall survival (OS).
Materials and methods: For all 228 patients in NEJ002, survival data were updated in December, 2010. Detailed information regarding subsequent chemotherapy after the protocol treatment was also assessed retrospectively and the impact of some key drugs on OS was evaluated.
Results: The median survival time (MST) was 27.7 months for the gefitinib group, and was 26.6 months for the CBDCA/PTX group (HR, 0.887; P=0.483). The OS of patients who received platinum throughout their treatment (n=186) was not statistically different from that of patients who never received platinum (n=40). The MST of patients treated with gefitinib, platinum, and pemetrexed (PEM) or docetaxel (DOC, Taxotere; n=76) was around 3 years.
Conclusions: No significant difference in OS was observed between gefitinib and CBDCA/PTX in the NEJ002 study, probably due to a high crossover use of gefitinib in the CBDCA/PTX group. Considering the many benefits and the risk of missing an opportunity to use the most effective agent for EGFR-mutated NSCLC, the first-line gefitinib is strongly recommended.