Background: The time schedules for response evaluation of epidermal growth factor receptor-tyrosine kinase Inhibitor (EGFR-TKI) in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients are still ill-defined.
Methods: Stage IIIB/IV patients with histologically proven NSCLC were enrolled in this study if the tumor cells bore EGFR mutations other than T790M. Eligible patients were treated with either 250 mg of gefitinib or 150 mg of erlotinib once daily. The early response rate [computed tomography (CT) scan on Day 14], definitive response rate determined on Day 56, progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and toxicity profile were assessed prospectively.
Results: Thirty-nine patients were enrolled in this study. A total of 29 patients (29/39, 74.4%) achieved partial response (PR). Twenty-one patients (21/39, 53.8%) had early radiological response on Day 14. The early radiological response rate in patients with PR was 72.4% (21/29). Only eight patients without a PR on early CT still ended with PR. Among the 29 patients with PR, the PFS (8.1 months) and OS (18.3 months) of the 21 patients with early CT response were shorter than those of the 8 patients without early CT response (11.9 and 24.0 months for PFS and OS, respectively). But the survival differences were statistically non-significant.
Conclusions: A very high percentage (72.4%, 21/29) of NSCLC patients with EGFR mutations with PR demonstrates early radiological response to EGFR-TKIs, which would advocate early radiological examination for EGFR-TKI therapy in NSCLC patients.