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Clin Cancer Res. 2009 Jul 1;15(13):4493-8. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-0391. Epub 2009 Jun 16.

Combined survival analysis of prospective clinical trials of gefitinib for non-small cell lung cancer with EGFR mutations.

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  • 1Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Yokohama City University Medical Center, Yokohama, Japan.



Somatic mutations of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene are associated with an increased response to gefitinib in patients with non-small cell lung cancer. We have examined the impact of gefitinib on progression-free survival and overall survival in patients with EGFR mutation-positive non-small cell lung cancer.


We searched for all clinical trials that prospectively evaluated the efficacy of gefitinib for advanced non-small cell lung cancer with EGFR mutations in Japan. We did a combined analysis based on individual patient data from the identified trials.


Seven eligible trials were identified for a total of 148 non-small cell lung cancer patients with EGFR mutations. The overall response rate to gefitinib was 76.4% [95% confidence interval (95% CI), 69.5-83.2]. The median progression-free survival and overall survival were 9.7 months (95% CI, 8.2-11.1) and 24.3 months (95% CI, 19.8-28.2), respectively. Good performance status and chemotherapy-naïve status were significantly associated with a longer progression-free survival or overall survival. Of the 148 patients, 87 received gefitinib as a first-line therapy, whereas 61 received systemic chemotherapy before gefitinib treatment. The median progression-free survival after the start of first-line therapy was significantly longer in the gefitinib-first group than in the chemotherapy-first group (10.7 versus 6.0 months; P < 0.001), whereas no significant difference in median overall survival was apparent between the two groups (27.7 versus 25.7 months; P = 0.782).


Gefitinib monotherapy confers substantial clinical benefit in terms of progression-free survival and overall survival in non-small cell lung cancer patients with EGFR mutations. Randomized trials comparing chemotherapy with gefitinib as a first-line treatment are warranted in such patients.

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