Although epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) are the preferred treatment for patients with EGFR-mutated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), not all patients benefit. We therefore explored the impact of the presence of mutations found in cell-free DNA (cfDNA) and TKI plasma concentrations during treatment on progression-free survival (PFS). In the prospective START-TKI study blood samples from 41 patients with EGFR-mutated NSCLC treated with EGFR-TKIs were available. Next generation sequencing (NGS) on cfDNA was performed, and plasma TKI concentrations were measured. Patients without complete plasma conversion of EGFR mutation at week 6 had a significantly shorter PFS (5.5 vs. 17.0 months, p = 0.002) and OS (14.0 vs. 25.5 months, p = 0.003) compared to patients with plasma conversion. In thirteen (second line) osimertinib-treated patients with a (plasma or tissue) concomitant TP53 mutation at baseline, PFS was significantly shorter compared to six wild-type cases; 8.8 vs. 18.8 months, p = 0.017. Erlotinib Cmean decrease of ≥10% in the second tertile of treatment was also associated with a significantly shorter PFS; 8.9 vs. 23.6 months, p = 0.037. We obtained evidence that absence of plasma loss of the primary EGFR mutation, isolated plasma p.T790M loss after six weeks, baseline concomitant TP53 mutations, and erlotinib Cmean decrease during treatment are probably related to worse outcome.
Keywords: EGFR; NSCLC; T790M mutation; TKI; TP53 mutation; cfDNA; pharmacokinetics; plasma conversion.