Efficacy and safety of erlotinib in the treatment of metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer
Serena Ricciardi1, Silverio Tomao2, Filippo de Marinis1
1Thoracic-Oncology Unit 1st, Lung Diseases Department, San Camillo-Forlanini High Specialization Hospitals, Rome, Italy; 2Sperimental Medicine Department, La Sapienza University, Rome, Italy
Abstract: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has played a central role in advancing non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) research, treatment, and patient outcome over the last few years. Erlotinib is a human epidermal growth factor receptor Type 1/EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Erlotinib monotherapy is indicated for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC after the failure of at least one prior chemotherapy regimen. We present the results of phase I, II, III, and IV trials. Erlotinib monotherapy has shown a significant improvement in median survival, quality of life, and related symptoms in an unselected population of patients in second- and third-line therapy as a single agent. Most commonly reported erlotinib-related adverse effects were rash and diarrhea. In general, patients with adenocarcinoma histology, female gender, Asian ethnicity, and nonsmokers have a better response when treated with erlotinib. Ongoing trials seek to improve therapy with this agent in monotherapy or in combination regimens and better understanding of predictors of benefit with therapy.
Keywords: erlotinib, NSCLC, targeted therapy
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