How safe and effective is low-dose erlotinib for elderly or frail patients with epidermal growth factor receptor mutation–positive non–small cell lung cancer?
In this single-arm, multicenter phase 2 trial of 80 patients with epidermal growth factor receptor mutation–positive non–small cell lung cancer, results showed that the objective response rate of low-dose erlotinib was 60.0%, while the adverse events observed were mild, with few patients exhibiting those of grade 3 or higher.
Low-dose erlotinib may be a treatment option for elderly or frail patients with non–small cell lung cancer.
Although the efficacy of epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors for EGFR gene mutation–positive non–small cell lung cancer is well established, optimal dosing remains to be established, especially in elderly or frail patients.
To investigate the efficacy and safety of low-dose erlotinib in elderly or frail patients with EGFR mutation–positive non–small cell lung cancer.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Single-arm phase 2 trial with the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) 2-stage design that enrolled frail patients from 21 Japanese institutions after meeting the inclusion criteria. Chemotherapy-naive patients with EGFR-activating mutation–positive non–small cell lung cancer who were considered frail based on age, the Charlson Comorbidity Index, and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status were eligible for the study.
Patients were initially administered 50 mg/d erlotinib for 4 weeks, which was modified based on response or adverse events. Dose increase was permitted for patients with stable disease after 4 weeks.
Main Outcomes and Measures
The primary end point was the independent review committee–confirmed objective response rate (ORR) at the dose of 50 mg/d. The study also evaluated the pharmacokinetics of low-dose erlotinib and influence of ABCB1 gene polymorphisms.
Eighty patients were enrolled, with a median (range) age of 80 (49-90) years; 54 (68%) were men. An independent review committee confirmed a significant ORR of 60.0% (90% CI, 50.2%-69.2%). The disease control rate was 90.0% (90% CI, 82.7%-94.9%), median progression-free survival was 9.3 months (95% CI, 7.2-11.4 months), and median overall survival was 26.2 months (95% CI, 21.9-30.4 months). Mild adverse events were observed in some participants, with few patients exhibiting grade 3 or greater adverse events. Low-dose erlotinib treatment was temporarily suspended for 10 patients owing to adverse events. Five of 80 patients (6%) had their erlotinib dose reduced to 25 mg because of oral mucositis, paronychia, erythema multiforme, diarrhea, and anorexia. Two patients discontinued treatment because of adverse events (cutaneous ulcer and bone infection, and oral mucositis, respectively). There were no cases of interstitial lung disease or treatment-related deaths. The median (range) erlotinib plasma concentration was measured at 685 (153-1950) ng/mL. Seventy-three patients discontinued study treatment owing to disease progression (n = 60), death (n = 3), AEs (n = 4), and patient requests (n = 6). No clear association was observed between the pharmacokinetics of low-dose erlotinib and the treatment outcome.
Conclusions and Relevance
Low-dose erlotinib appears to be safe and effective in elderly or frail patients with EGFR mutation–positive non–small cell lung cancer and can be a valid treatment option.
UMIN-CTR Identifier: UMIN000015949
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Miyamoto S, Azuma K, Ishii H, et al. Low-Dose Erlotinib Treatment in Elderly or Frail Patients With EGFR Mutation–Positive Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer: A Multicenter Phase 2 Trial. JAMA Oncol. Published online May 14, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.1250
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