Is there a role for dacomitinib, a second-generation irreversible inhibitor of the epidermal-growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase, in advanced non-small cell lung cancer?

Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2020 Aug;21(11):1287-1298. doi: 10.1080/14656566.2020.1746269. Epub 2020 Apr 15.


Introduction: Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is a highly lethal disease. During the past 20 years, the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has been a relevant target for anticancer drug-design, and a large family of EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) were designed, which improved therapeutic outcomes compared to conventional chemotherapy in NSCLC patients with specific EGFR mutations. However, resistance to these inhibitors occurs; therefore, the debate on which inhibitor should be used first is still open. Dacomitinib was approved in 2018 for the first-line treatment of NSCLC with EGFR activating mutations.

Areas covered: This manuscript reviews the properties of dacomitinib, including the current information from clinical trials and its potential application as stand-alone therapy, or in combination.

Expert opinion: Dacomitinib is a second-generation EGFR-TKI that has demonstrated significant improvement in overall survival in a phase III randomized study compared with gefitinib, a first-generation TKI. However, the rapid development and approval of a new generation of TKIs (osimertinib), with better clinical profiles, raises the question of which role can dacomitinib play in NSCLC. Further studies are required to evaluate the efficacy of this drug on brain metastases, as a second-line treatment after third-generation TKIs, or in combination with other types of treatments.

Keywords: Dacomitinib; EGFR; irreversible inhibition; non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC); tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung* / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung* / genetics
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Mutation
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Quinazolinones
  • Tyrosine


  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Quinazolinones
  • Tyrosine
  • dacomitinib
  • ErbB Receptors