Targeted therapy slows cancer progression
Drugs targeting mutations of the epidermal growth factor receptor versus chemotherapy for lung cancer
A new study has delivered evidence that a drug targeting
specific genetic abnormality to block cancer growth is better than
chemotherapy, in terms of progression of cancer, for patients with
advanced non-small-cell lung cancer with mutations of epidermal
growth factor receptor (EGFR).
The study, the largest to date, aimed to answer these important
questions: do patients with specific mutations and / or clinical
characteristics benefit more from an EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor
This collaborative research involving researchers from
Australia, Taiwan, China, Japan, Spain and the USA, analysed data
from a large dataset of 1649 patients based on 7 clinical trials
that randomly allocated patients to an EGFR tyrosine kinase
inhibitor or combination chemotherapy. Most patients had one of the
common EGFR mutations: exon19 deletion or exon 21 L858R
substitutions. About two-thirds had never smoked and about
two-thirds were women.
Patients on the EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor, overall, had a
63% benefit in terms of progression of cancer, as compared with
chemotherapy. Those with the exon 19 deletions did better on the
drug than the patients with the exon 21 L858R. Patients who had
never smoked had more benefit from the drug than smokers or
ex-smokers, and women had slightly more benefit than men.
The study, by Dr Chee Lee and colleagues, has been published in
Journal of Clinical Oncology.