Continued use of afatinib with the addition of cetuximab after progression on afatinib in patients with EGFR mutation-positive non-small-cell lung cancer and acquired resistance to gefitinib or erlotinib

Lung Cancer. 2017 Nov;113:51-58. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2017.08.014. Epub 2017 Aug 31.


Objectives: In a phase Ib trial, afatinib plus cetuximab demonstrated promising clinical activity (objective response rate [ORR]: 29%; median progression-free survival [PFS]: 4.7 months) in patients with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation-positive non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with acquired resistance to erlotinib or gefitinib. Here, a separate cohort exploring afatinib plus cetuximab after progression on afatinib is reported.

Materials and methods: Patients with EGFR mutation-positive NSCLC who progressed on erlotinib or gefitinib received afatinib 40mg daily until progression, followed by afatinib daily plus cetuximab 500mg/m2 every 2 weeks until progression or intolerable adverse events (AEs). Endpoints included safety, ORR, and PFS.

Results: Thirty-seven patients received afatinib monotherapy. Two (5%) patients responded; median PFS was 2.7 months. Thirty-six patients transitioned to afatinib plus cetuximab. Four (11%) patients responded; median PFS was 2.9 months. Median PFS with afatinib plus cetuximab for patients who received afatinib monotherapy for ≥12 versus <12 weeks was 4.9 versus 1.8 months (p=0.0354), and for patients with T790M-positive versus T790M-negative tumors was 4.8 versus 1.8 months (p=0.1306). Fifty percent of patients receiving afatinib plus cetuximab experienced drug-related grade 3/4 AEs. The most frequent drug-related AEs (any grade) were diarrhea (70%), rash (49%), and fatigue (35%) with afatinib monotherapy and rash (69%), paronychia (39%), and dry skin (36%) with afatinib plus cetuximab.

Conclusion: Sequential EGFR blockade with afatinib followed by afatinib plus cetuximab had a predictable safety profile and demonstrated modest activity in patients with EGFR mutation-positive NSCLC with resistance to erlotinib or gefitinib. CLINICALTRIALS.

Gov identifier: NCT01090011.

Keywords: Afatinib; Cetuximab; EGFR; NSCLC; Phase Ib.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Afatinib
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / pharmacokinetics
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Cetuximab / administration & dosage
  • Cetuximab / adverse effects
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diarrhea / chemically induced
  • Disease Progression
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics*
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics*
  • Erlotinib Hydrochloride / administration & dosage
  • Erlotinib Hydrochloride / adverse effects
  • Exanthema / chemically induced
  • Female
  • Gefitinib
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*
  • Quinazolines / administration & dosage
  • Quinazolines / adverse effects


  • Quinazolines
  • Afatinib
  • Erlotinib Hydrochloride
  • EGFR protein, human
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Cetuximab
  • Gefitinib

Associated data