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J Clin Oncol. 2011 Jun 20;29(18):2582-9. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2010.30.7678. Epub 2011 May 16.

Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase II trial of sorafenib and erlotinib or erlotinib alone in previously treated advanced non-small-cell lung cancer.

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  • 1Sarah Cannon Research Institute, 250 25th Ave North, Ste 110, Nashville, TN 37203, USA.



Sorafenib, an oral multikinase inhibitor, has shown preliminary activity in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Patients with advanced NSCLC were treated with erlotinib with or without sorafenib in this multicenter phase II trial.


Key eligibility criteria included the following: stage IIIB or IV NSCLC; one to two prior regimens; Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0 to 2; and measurable disease. Patients were randomly assigned 2:1 to sorafenib (400 mg orally twice a day) plus erlotinib (150 mg orally daily) or placebo plus erlotinib and stratified by squamous/nonsquamous histology and prior bevacizumab. Treatment efficacy, measured by progression-free survival (PFS) and overall response rate (ORR), was compared. Treatment of 168 patients allowed detection of 40% improvement in the historical PFS of 2.2 months with single-agent erlotinib.


One hundred sixty-eight patients enrolled from February 2008 to February 2009. Clinical characteristics of the two groups were similar. ORRs for sorafenib/erlotinib and placebo/erlotinib were 8% and 11%, respectively (P = .56); disease control rates were 54% and 38%, respectively (P = .056). Median PFS was 3.38 months for sorafenib/erlotinib versus 1.94 months for placebo/erlotinib (hazard ratio, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.60 to 1.22; P = .196). Seventy-two patients consented to analyses of tumor epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). In 67 patients with EGFR wild-type (WT) tumors, median PFS was 3.38 months for sorafenib/erlotinib versus 1.77 months for placebo/erlotinib (P = .018); median overall survival (OS) was 8 months for sorafenib/erlotinib versus 4.5 months for placebo/erlotinib (P = .019). An OS advantage for sorafenib/erlotinib was suggested among 43 patients with fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) EGFR-negative tumors (P = .064). Both regimens were tolerable, with modest toxicity increase with sorafenib.


Although there was little difference in ORR or PFS, subset analyses in EGFR WT and EGFR FISH-negative patients suggest a benefit for the combination of erlotinib/sorafenib compared with single-agent erlotinib with respect to PFS and OS.

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