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Lung Cancer. 2004 May;44(2):221-30.

Outcomes of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer treated with gefitinib (ZD1839, "Iressa") on an expanded access study.

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Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, 44 Binney Street, D1234, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



To investigate the anti-tumor activity and toxicity of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor gefitinib (ZD1839 or Iressa; AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Wilmington, DE), in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).


This was an open label, expanded access program (EAP) of oral gefitinib administered at 250 mg per day continuously until evidence of undue toxicity or disease progression.


Two hundred consecutive patients with advanced NSCLC were enrolled in this study. The median number of prior chemotherapy regimens was 2 (range 0-6). One hundred seventy-two patients were treated with gefitinib; 23 expired from disease progression prior to treatment and 5 withdrew their consent. One hundred fifty-four patients are evaluable for toxicity; 8 (5.2%) experienced grade 3/4 toxicity; 2 patients discontinued therapy for grade 3 rash and one for grade 3 nausea. Of 172 patients evaluable for efficacy, 7 (4.1%; 95% CI; 1.7-8.2%) experienced a partial response (PR); 60 patients (34.9%) had stable disease (SD) as their best response. Median survival for all patients was 4.5 months (95% CI; 4.1-4.9 months). One-year survival was 29%. Significant independent prognostic factors associated with improved survival were female gender, good performance status (0/1), and adenocarcinoma histology.


Gefitinib has anti-tumor activity, in a heterogeneous population of NSCLC patients treated on the EAP study. Treatment with gefitinib in this population is associated with a longer survival in women, those with good performance status and in patients with adenocarcinomas. These findings need to be further validated in additional clinical studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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