Lessons from the 'Iressa' Expanded Access Programme: Gefitinib in special non-small-cell lung cancer patient populations

R. Stahel, A. Rossi, L. Petruzelka, P. Kosimidis, F. De Braud, M. M. Bernardo, P. J. Souquet, H. Soto Parra, C. Gridelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Some subgroups of patients with advanced/metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are frequently considered ineligible for the aggressive, platinum-based combination chemotherapy that is the recommended treatment. Elderly patients may have a poorer tolerance of chemotherapy due to impaired organ function and frequent comorbidities; patients with poor performance status (PS; ≥ 2 due to NSCLC and/or coexisting illnesses) are often considered unfit for chemotherapy; other patients may be unable or unwilling to endure the toxicity or inconvenience of chemotherapy. These patient groups may benefit from novel, relatively nontoxic treatment modalities. Gefitinib ('Iressa', ZD1839) 250 mg day-1 is well tolerated and has proven antitumour and symptom improvement activity in patients with previously treated NSCLC. Phase II trials (IDEAL 1 and 2) of gefitinib in advanced/metastatic NSCLC included 70 out of 425 (16.5%) patients with PS ≥ 2, and their response rate, clinical benefit rate and rates of adverse events were similar to those of the overall trial population. In addition, many patients with advanced/metastatic NSCLC with poor PS or advanced age have received gefitinib 250 mg day-1 in an Expanded Access Programme (EAP). Observations from the EAP support those of IDEAL 1 and 2, and indicate that gefitinib 250 mg day-1 warrants further investigation in these patient groups.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003


  • Chemonaive
  • Elderly
  • Gefitinib ('Iressa', ZD1839)
  • Performance status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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