Afatinib in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Harboring Uncommon EGFR Mutations Pretreated With Reversible EGFR Inhibitors

Oncologist. 2015 Oct;20(10):1167-74. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.2015-0073. Epub 2015 Sep 9.


Background: Afatinib, an irreversible ErbB family blocker, is approved for treatment of patients with previously untreated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) harboring activating epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations. Efficacy of afatinib in EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor-naïve (TKI-naïve) patients with uncommon EGFR mutations (other than exon 19 deletions or exon 21 point mutations) has been reported; however, efficacy in TKI-pretreated patients with uncommon EGFR mutations is unknown.

Materials and methods: In the afatinib compassionate use program (CUP), patients with advanced or metastatic, histologically confirmed NSCLC progressing after at least one line of chemotherapy and one line of EGFR-TKI treatment were enrolled. Demographic data, mutation type, response rates, time to treatment failure (TTF), and safety in patients harboring uncommon EGFR mutations were reported.

Results: In 60 patients (63% female, median age 63 years [range: 30-84 years]), a total of 66 uncommon EGFR mutations including 30 T790M mutations were reported (18.4% and 11%, respectively, of known EGFR mutations within the CUP). Most patients (67%) received afatinib as third- or fourth-line treatment. Median TTF was 3.8 months (range: 0.2 to >24.6 months; p = .244) in patients with uncommon mutations compared with 5.1 months (range: 0.1 to >21.1 months) in patients with common mutations (n = 165). Pronounced activity was observed with E709X mutations (TTF >12 months). No new safety signals were detected.

Conclusion: Afatinib is clinically active and well tolerated in many TKI-pretreated NSCLC patients harboring uncommon EGFR mutations. Compared with results reported in TKI-naïve patients, activity was also indicated in patients with T790M and exon 20 insertion mutations.

Keywords: Afatinib; Compassionate use trials; Epidermal growth factor receptor; ErbB receptors; Non-small cell lung cancer.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Afatinib
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Compassionate Use Trials
  • ErbB Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Quinazolines / adverse effects
  • Quinazolines / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Failure


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Quinazolines
  • Afatinib
  • EGFR protein, human
  • ErbB Receptors