An open-label expanded access program of afatinib in EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor-naïve patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer harboring EGFR mutations

BMC Cancer. 2021 Jul 12;21(1):802. doi: 10.1186/s12885-021-08445-9.


Background: Afatinib is approved globally for EGFR-TKI treatment-naïve patients with EGFR mutation-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In this Korean expanded access program, we evaluated its 'real-world' safety and efficacy.

Methods: EGFR-TKI treatment-naïve patients with EGFR mutation-positive NSCLC received afatinib 40 mg/day until disease progression or other withdrawal criteria. Dose reductions were permitted for adverse events (AEs). The primary endpoint was the number of patients with AEs (CTCAE version 3.0). Other endpoints included progression-free survival (PFS), overall response rate (ORR), duration of response (DOR), and changes in investigator-assessed cancer-related symptoms.

Results: Eighty-eight patients received afatinib, including 27 (31%) with brain metastases and 16 (18%) with uncommon EGFR mutations. Median PFS was 17.0 months (95% confidence interval [CI] 12.9-23.3 months). Grade 3 treatment-related AEs (TRAEs) were reported in 51 (58%) patients; the most common were diarrhea (22%) and rash/acne (20%). No grade > 3 TRAEs were reported. AEs leading to dose reduction occurred in 49 (56%) patients. Treatment discontinuation due to TRAEs occurred in 4 (5%) patients. ORR was 81% overall, 89% in patients with brain metastases, and 55% in patients with uncommon mutations (excluding T790M/exon 20 insertions). Median DOR was 15.1 months (95% CI 12.4-21.4 months). Cancer-related symptoms were improved/unchanged/worsened in 34-66%/36-66%/0-3% of patients over the first year.

Conclusions: No unexpected safety signals for afatinib were observed. AEs were manageable; the treatment discontinuation rate was low. Afatinib showed encouraging efficacy in a broad patient population including those with brain metastases or tumors harboring uncommon EGFR mutations.

Trials registration: NCT01931306 ; 29/08/2013.

Keywords: Afatinib; Brain metastases; EGFR; NSCLC; Real world; Uncommon mutations.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Afatinib / pharmacology
  • Afatinib / therapeutic use*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*


  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Afatinib
  • ErbB Receptors

Associated data