Purpose: Preclinical studies indicate that gefitinib (Iressa, ZD1839; AstraZeneca, Wilmington, DE), an orally active epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor, may enhance antitumor efficacy of cytotoxics, and combination with paclitaxel and carboplatin had acceptable tolerability in a phase I trial. Gefitinib monotherapy demonstrated unparalleled antitumor activity for a biologic agent, with less toxicity than docetaxel, in phase II trials in refractory, advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This phase III, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial evaluated gefitinib plus paclitaxel and carboplatin in chemotherapy-naive patients with advanced NSCLC. Patients and Methods: Patients received paclitaxel 225 mg/m2 and carboplatin area under concentration/time curve of 6 mg/min/mL (day 1 every 3 weeks) plus gefitinib 500 mg/d, gefitinib 250 mg/d, or placebo. After a maximum of six cycles, daily gefitinib or placebo continued until disease progression. End points included overall survival, time to progression (TTP), response rate (RR), and safety evaluation. Results: A total of 1,037 patients were recruited. Baseline demographic characteristics were well balanced. There was no difference in overall survival (median, 8.7, 9.8, and 9.9 months for gefitinib 500 mg/d, 250 mg/d, and placebo, respectively; P = .64), TTP, or RR between arms. Expected dose-related diarrhea and skin toxicity were observed in gefitinib-treated patients, with no new significant/unexpected safety findings from combination with chemotherapy. Subset analysis of patients with adenocarcinoma who received ≥ 90 days' chemotherapy demonstrated statistically significant prolonged survival, suggesting a gefitinib maintenance effect. Conclusion: Gefitinib showed no added benefit in survival, TTP, or RR compared with standard chemotherapy alone. This large, placebo-controlled trial confirmed the favorable gefitinib safety profile observed in phase I and II monotherapy trials.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research