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Pathol Oncol Res. 2013 Oct;19(4):833-8. doi: 10.1007/s12253-013-9651-z. Epub 2013 May 29.

Disease flare after EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor cessation predicts poor survival in patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

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  • 1Division of Pulmonary Oncology, Guangdong Lung Cancer Institute, Guangdong General Hospital & Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences, Guangzhou, People's Republic of China.


Available study revealed non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients faced a risk of disease flare after cessation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) treatment. There was no data concerning the prognostic value of disease flare. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of disease flare in a Chinese cohort, and analyzed its prediction to survival. A cohort of 227 NSCLC patients with acquired resistance to EGFR TKI was retrospectively analyzed. Prevalence and clinical features of disease flare after TKI cessation were reviewed. Survival data were analyzed between patients with flare and those without flare. EGFR gene mutations in tumors were detected. Twenty of 227 (8.8 %) patients were determined with disease flare after TKI cessation. The median interval from TKI cessation to disease flare was 7 days (range 3-18). Forty percent of patients complained of deteriorated dyspnea attributable to malignant effusion. Thirty percent of patients had progressive lesions in the brain. After TKI cessation 35 % of flare patients died before challenge of subsequent treatment. No response was observed in 30 % of flare patients undergoing subsequent chemotherapy. When compared with the non-flare group, patients with disease flare demonstrated comparable progression-free survival (10.1 vs. 9.9 months; P = 0.973), shorter post-TKI survival (4.1 vs. 6.1 months; P < 0.001), and a significantly poor overall survival (16.6 vs. 21.6 months; P = 0.002). Disease flare after cessation of EGFR TKI occurred in Chinese NSCLC population and predicted a poor survival.

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