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Comparing the efficacy of concurrent EGFR-TKI and whole-brain radiotherapy vs EGFR-TKI alone as a first-line therapy for advanced EGFR-mutated non-small-cell lung cancer with brain metastases: a retrospective cohort study

Authors He ZY, Li MF, Lin JH, Lin D, Lin RJ

Received 22 August 2018

Accepted for publication 1 February 2019

Published 14 March 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 2129—2138


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Beicheng Sun

Zhi-Yong He,1,2,* Mei-Fang Li,1,2,* Jing-Hui Lin,1,2 Dong Lin,1,2 Ren-Jang Lin3

1Department of Thoracic Medical Oncology, Fujian Cancer Hospital, Fujian Medical University Cancer Hospital, Fuzhou 350014, Fujian Province, People’s Republic of China; 2Fujian Provincial Key Laboratory of Translation Cancer Medicine, Fuzhou 350014, Fujian Province, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, Duarte, CA 91010, USA

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is a global public health problem, and brain is a common metastatic site in advanced NSCLC. Currently, whole-brain radiotherapy (WBRT) remains a major treatment for brain metastases, while EGFR-tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) is the standard treatment for advanced NSCLC harboring EGFR mutations, which is also effective for brain metastases. However, whether EGFR-TKIs plus radiotherapy is superior to EGFR-TKIs alone for the treatment of advanced EGFR-mutant NSCLS with brain metastases remains controversial. This study aimed to compare the efficacy of concurrent EGFR-TKIs and WBRT vs EGFR-TKI alone in a retrospective cohort of advanced EGFR-mutant NSCLS with brain metastases.
Patients and methods: The medical records of 104 treatment-naïve, advanced EGFR-mutant NSCLC patients with brain metastases were retrospectively reviewed, and there were 56 patients undergoing concurrent EGFR-TKI and WBRT, and 48 patients given EGFR-TKI alone, including 20 cases with salvage WBRT upon brain metastasis progression. The survival prognosis was compared between the two cohorts.
Results: The baseline clinicopathologic factors were balanced between the two cohorts. After a median follow-up of 23 months, 35.6% of the study subjects survived. Concurrent EGFR-TKI and WBRT significantly improved the median intracranial PFS (iPFS) compared with EGFR-TKI alone (17.7 vs 11.0 months, P=0.015); however, no significant difference was seen in median overall survival between the two cohorts (28.1 vs 24.0 months, P=0.756). In addition, the median iPFS was found to significantly vary in the number of brain metastases (≤3 vs>3 metastases: 18.0 vs 12.5 months, P=0.044). Subgroup analysis showed that concurrent EGFR-TKI and WBRT improved median iPFS compared with EGFR-TKI alone in patients with more than three brain metastases (P=0.001); however, no significant difference was observed between the two regimens in patients with three or less brain metastases (P=0.526).
Conclusion: Our data demonstrate that concurrent EGFR-TKI and WBRT achieves longer iPFS than EGFR-TKI alone in advanced EGFR-mutant NSCLC with brain metastases. In advanced EGFR-mutant NSCLC with three or less brain metastases, EGFR-TKI alone may be an option as a first-line therapy.

Keywords: non-small-cell lung cancer, brain metastasis, epidermal growth factor receptor, tyrosine kinase inhibitor, whole-brain radiotherapy

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