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Ann Oncol. 2008 Apr;19(4):739-45. Epub 2007 Dec 19.

Multicenter phase II trial of gefitinib first-line therapy followed by chemotherapy in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC): SAKK protocol 19/03.

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  • 1Department of Oncology, Kantonsspital St.Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland.



Gefitinib is active in patients with pretreated non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We evaluated the activity and toxicity of gefitinib first-line treatment in advanced NSCLC followed by chemotherapy at disease progression.


In all, 63 patients with chemotherapy-naive stage IIIB/IV NSCLC received gefitinib 250 mg/day. At disease progression, gefitinib was replaced by cisplatin 80 mg/m(2) on day 1 and gemcitabine 1250 mg/m(2) on days 1, 8 for up to six 3-week cycles. Primary end point was the disease stabilization rate (DSR) after 12 weeks of gefitinib.


After 12 weeks of gefitinib, the DSR was 24% and the response rate (RR) was 8%. Median time to progression (TtP) was 2.5 months and median overall survival (OS) 11.5 months. Never smokers (n = 9) had a DSR of 56% and a median OS of 20.2 months; patients with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation (n = 4) had a DSR of 75% and the median OS was not reached after the follow-up of 21.6 months. In all, 41 patients received chemotherapy with an overall RR of 34%, DSR of 71% and median TtP of 6.7 months.


First-line gefitinib monotherapy led to a DSR of 24% at 12 weeks in an unselected patients population. Never smokers and patients with EGFR mutations tend to have a better outcome; hence, further trials in selected patients are warranted.

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