Background: To evaluate the anticancer activity of erlotinib in patients with previously treated, advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose dose is increased to that associated with a maximal level of tolerable skin toxicity (i.e., target rash (TR)); to characterise the pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD) of higher doses of erlotinib. Methods: Patients initially received erlotinib 150 mg per day. The dose was successively increased in each patient to that associated with a TR. Anticancer activity was evaluated. Plasma, skin, and hair were sampled for PK and PD studies. Results: Erlotinib dose escalation to 200-475 mg per day was feasible in 38 (90%) of 42 patients. Twenty-four (57%) patients developed a TR, but 19 (79%) did so at 150 mg per day. Five (12%) patients, all of whom developed a TR, had a partial response. Median progression-free survival (PFS) was 2.3 months (95% CI: 1.61, 4.14); median PFS was 3.5 months and 1.9 months, respectively, for patients who did and did not experience a TR (hazard ratio, 0.51; P0.051). Neither rash severity nor response correlated with erlotinib exposure. Conclusion: Intrapatient dose escalation of erlotinib does not appreciably increase the propensity to experience a maximal level of tolerable skin toxicity, or appear to increase the anticancer activity of erlotinib in NSCLC.

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British Journal of Cancer
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

mita, A., Papadopoulos, K., de Jonge, M., Schwartz, G., Verweij, J., Ricart, A., … Rowinsky, E. K. (2011). Erlotinib dosing-to-rash: A phase II intrapatient dose escalation and pharmacologic study of erlotinib in previously treated advanced non-small cell lung cancer. British Journal of Cancer, 105(7), 938–944. doi:10.1038/bjc.2011.332