Purpose: To evaluate response rate, toxicity and epidermal growth factor (EGFR) mutations and gene copy number as outcome predictive factors in Italian patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with gefitinib (Iressa) in an expanded access program (EAP). Patients and methods: A total of 137 patients with advanced NSCLC received gefitinib as first line treatment or after failure of chemotherapy. In 43 cases, tissue specimens were available for EGFR status evaluation: immunohistochemical (IHC) for EGFR, fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) or Chromogenic in situ hybridisation (CISH)-(ISH) analysis for EGFR and HER2 gene copy number, and PCR-DNA sequencing for mutational analysis of EGFR were performed. Results: In the study population, response rate (PR) was 13%; disease stabilization (DS) 26%; overall disease control rate 39%; median survival 6.3 months and time to progression 2.7 months. Toxicity was mild (G3 skin toxicity in 3% and G3 liver toxicity in 4% of patients). An EGFR-mutation was detected in 9/43 patients: Eight deletions in exon 19 and 1 missense mutation in exon 21. Increased gene copy number for EGFR and/or HER2 was detected in 17/43 patients. Response rate was significantly higher in women, non-smokers, in mutation carriers than in wild type carriers, in EGFR-trisomy/polysomy carriers and HER2-trisomy/polysomy carriers. Conclusions: In this study, response rate and toxicity to gefitinib treatment were consistent with previously reported data for whites. Female gender, absence of smoking history, EGFR-mutations, EGFR and HER2-polysomy were significantly associated with response to gefitinib therapy in NSCLC patients.
- EGFR mutation
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