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Development of treatment options for Chinese patients with advanced squamous cell lung cancer: focus on afatinib

Authors Lu S

Received 21 September 2018

Accepted for publication 14 December 2018

Published 22 February 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 1521—1538

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OTT.S188296

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Arseniy Yuzhalin


Shun Lu

Shanghai Lung Cancer Center, Shanghai Chest Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200030, China

Abstract: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in China, and approximately one third of these cancers are squamous cell carcinoma (SqCC) of the lung. Ethnic diversity and country-specific environmental factors can account for interindividual variations in response to and tolerability of anticancer therapies. Although several targeted therapies have recently been approved for patients with relapsed/refractory SqCC of the lung, only afatinib, an irreversible ErbB family blocker, has data of Chinese patients. In the Phase III LUX-Lung 8 trial, afatinib demonstrated a significant clinical benefit vs the reversible first-generation EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor erlotinib in both the overall population and the Chinese subset, with a manageable safety profile. Emerging biomarker data from LUX-Lung 8 suggest that patients with ErbB mutations, especially ErbB2, and those classified as “good” in the VeriStrat® proteomic test, may benefit from afatinib treatment in particular, regardless of ethnicity, and may get a long-term response. In conclusion, afatinib is a valid second-line option for Chinese patients with SqCC of the lung, and specific biomarkers may help guide in treatment decision-making. Ongoing studies will provide further guidance on afatinib’s place in the treatment algorithm, alongside the other novel targeted therapies.

Keywords: squamous cell carcinoma, NSCLC, Chinese, afatinib, EGFR, ErbB, biomarker

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