Activity of a specific inhibitor, gefitinib (Iressa™, ZD1839), of epidermal growth factor receptor in refractory non-smal-cell lung cancer

Armando Santoro, R. Cavina, F. Latteri, P. A. Zucali, V. Ginanni, E. Campagnoli, B. Ferrari, E. Morenghi, V. Pedicini, M. Roncalli, M. Alloisio, G. Ravasi, H. J. Soto Parra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Gefitinib (Iressa™, ZD1839) is an orally active, selective epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Phase I studies showed that it is well tolerated, with evidence of tumor regression in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Therefore, we aimed to assess the antitumor activity and tolerability of gefitinib in a series of patients with previously treated, advanced NSCLC, as a part of a compassionate use program. Patients and methods: To be eligible, all patients were required to have histologically or cytologically proven advanced or metastatic NSCLC, prior chemotherapy with at least one cisplatin-containing chemotherapy regimen or contraindication to cytotoxic drugs, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status ≤2, and adequate hematological, renal and hepatic parameters. All patients provided signed informed consent. Patient re-evaluation was performed every 4-6 weeks. Results: Seventy-three consecutive patients were enrolled. Response rate, including complete and partial response, was 9.6%; an additional 43.8% of patients achieved stable disease, for an overall disease control of 53.4%. EGFR1 status was evaluated by immunocytochemistry in 25 patients. According to EGFR1 immuno-reactivity all responses were observed with medium/strong imunoreactivity while three out of four responses were observed in high expressive patients. Median survival for all patients was 4 months while it reached 6 months for patients with disease control. The 1-year survival rate was 13.1% for the entire series and 23.2% for patients with disease control. Non-hematological toxicity was generally mild. Conclusion: Gefitinib has promising activity with a good toxicity profile in patients with progressive NSCLC who have received one or two prior chemotherapy regimens. A possible relationship within response and EGFR1 expression is suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-37
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2004


  • Epidermal growth factor receptor
  • Gefitinib
  • Non-small-cell lung cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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