Phase II study of afatinib, an irreversible ErbB family blocker, in EGFR FISH-positive non-small-cell lung cancer

J Thorac Oncol. 2015 Apr;10(4):665-72. doi: 10.1097/JTO.0000000000000442.


Introduction: Afatinib, an oral irreversible ErbB Family Blocker, has demonstrated efficacy and safety in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation-positive advanced lung adenocarcinoma. It is unknown whether such activity also occurs in patients with EGFR gene overexpression, regardless of mutation status. This phase II study investigated the activity and safety of afatinib in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer with increased EGFR gene copy number and/or gene amplification by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), with or without EGFR mutation.

Methods: EGFR gene overexpression was assessed by FISH analysis; patients with high polysomy or gene amplification were considered FISH positive. Patients received daily afatinib less than or equal to 50 mg (monotherapy). Endpoints included objective response rate (ORR; primary), disease control rate (DCR), progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and safety.

Results: Of 223 patients screened, 69 patients were FISH-positive and met eligibility criteria for treatment. The ORR was 13.0% overall (n =9 of 69). Higher ORRs were observed in patients with gene amplification (20.0%; n =5 of 25) and EGFR mutation-positive tumors (25.0%; n =3 of 12). The DCR was 50.7% overall (n = 35 of 69; median duration: 24.9 weeks) with higher DCRs observed in patients with gene amplification 64.0%; (n = 16 of 25), and in patients with EGFR mutation-positive tumors 66.7% (n = 8 of 12). In the overall population, median PFS was 8.4 weeks and median OS was 50.4 weeks. The most common afatinib-related adverse events were rash/acne (83%) and diarrhea (78%).

Conclusions: First- or second-line afatinib demonstrated preliminary activity and manageable safety in EGFR FISH-positive patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Afatinib
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis*
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics*
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Genes, erbB-1 / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence / methods
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*
  • Quinazolines / therapeutic use*


  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Quinazolines
  • Afatinib
  • EGFR protein, human
  • ErbB Receptors