Background: The global Phase III LUX-Lung 8 trial (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01523587) identified significant improvements in progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and patient-reported outcomes (PROs) with second-line afatinib vs erlotinib in patients with advanced squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the lung.
Materials and methods: We conducted a post hoc analysis of data for patients in LUX-Lung 8 from mainland China (n=67). Compared with erlotinib, afatinib reduced the risk of disease progression or death (PFS) in the Chinese subgroup by 30% (HR=0.70; 95% CI: 0.38-1.27).
Results: The risk of death was reduced by 31% (HR=0.69; 95% CI: 0.39-1.21). The proportion of Chinese patients with improvements in PROs also favored afatinib vs erlotinib (global health status/quality of life [QoL], 52.8% vs 29.6%, P=0.072; dyspnea, 47% vs 26%, P=0.091; "dyspnea walked", 44% vs 15%, P=0.017; QoL rate, 53% vs 26%, P=0.037).
Discussion: While this analysis was not powered to demonstrate differences compared to the overall trial population (OTP), and there were some differences in baseline characteristics (eg, the proportion of patients aged ≥65 years old), the benefits of afatinib treatment in Chinese patients with SCC of the lung appeared to be at least comparable to that observed in LUX-Lung 8. As with the OTP, the most common adverse events (AEs) with afatinib in the Chinese subgroup were diarrhea and rash/acne, and the incidence and type of the most frequently occurring AEs were similar.
Conclusion: The results suggest that afatinib represents a feasible treatment option for Chinese patients with advanced SCC of the lung following progression on platinum-based chemotherapy.
Keywords: Chinese patients; NSCLC; Phase III; afatinib; second-line; squamous cell carcinoma.