Published: 28 January, 2021 | Volume 5 - Issue 1 | Pages: 001-018
Background: In 2004 we started a phase II trial in non-small lung cancer (NSCLC), stage III, with erlotinib followed by a combination with a platinum-based doublet in unselected patients to identify molecular subgroups benefitting from an EGFR targeting approach.
Patients and methods: Induction with erlotinib (E, 150 mg, d1-42) was followed by three cycles of gemcitabine (G, 1250 mg/m², d1+d8, q3w) and cisplatin (P, 80 mg/m², d1, q3w). Patients with at least stable disease after E were treated with a GP + E combination. Induction was followed by surgery and radiation. The trial was conducted as a prospective, multi-center, open label, exploratory phase II study to determine pathological response rate (pRR), as well as secondary endpoints disease free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS).
Results: Of 38 prescreened patients 16 were included in the main study. Due to slow recruitment the study had to be terminated early. Combination of E and GP was well tolerated, surgery was feasible after induction therapy in 12 of 16 patients, 7/12 (58%) patients had a major pathological response (MPR). Median overall survival for patients with MPR was 57.7 months (confidence interval (CI), 37.4 to 78.0; n = 7) and for patients without MPR 11.9 months (CI, 6.4 to 17.4; n = 5). 2/16 patients had an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation.
Conclusion: Before discovery of distinct molecular mechanisms in NSCLC our study was an attempt to identify clinical and pathological subgroups that would benefit from E induction. Two patients with an EGFR mutation were identified. MPR was a predictor of long term disease free and overall survival.
Induction; Erlotinib; NSCLC; Stage III; Lung cancer