Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Ann Oncol. 2012 Apr;23(4):1010-6. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdr327. Epub 2011 Jul 18.

Gefitinib, cisplatin, and concurrent radiotherapy for locally advanced head and neck cancer: EGFR FISH, protein expression, and mutational status are not predictive biomarkers.

Author information

  • 1Department of Medical Oncology, National Cancer Centre, Singapore.



Gefitinib was demonstrated to be synergistic with cisplatin and radiotherapy (RT) in in vitro studies. Biomarkers predictive of response to gefitinib in squamous cell head and neck cancer is still lacking.


Thirty-one patients with locally advanced and easily accessible primary tumor sites for biopsies were recruited. Gefitinib was started 3 weeks before the start of cisplatin/concurrent radiotherapy (CTRT) and continued during the CTRT phase and thereafter for 4 months as consolidation phase. Two baselines and a repeat tumor sample were taken after 2 weeks of gefitinib alone to study its impact on tumor gene expression. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) protein expression, FISH and mutational status, and matrix metallopeptidase 11 (MMP11) protein expression were correlated with response and survival outcome.


The overall response rate to gefitinib alone was 9.7%. The survival outcome is as follows: median disease free 1.3 years, median survival time 2.4 years, 3-year disease free 42.9%, and 3-year overall survival 48.4%. EGFR FISH, protein expression, and mutational status did not predict for response nor survival outcome of patients. Although MMP11 overexpression did not predict for response, it predicted significantly for a poorer survival outcome.


Gefitinib can be combined safely with cisplatin/RT. More studies are needed to uncover predictive biomarkers of benefit to gefitinib.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk