Background: EORTC study 08021/ILCP 01/03 evaluated the role of consolidation gefitinib, an oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), administered in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), not progressing following standard 1st-line chemotherapy. Methods: Patients with advanced NSCLC, not-progressing after four cycles of platinum-based chemotherapy, were randomised to receive either gefitinib 250 mg/d or matched placebo until progression or unacceptable toxicity. The primary end-point was overall survival (OS). Secondary end-points were progression-free survival (PFS) and toxicity. The study was powered to detect a 28% increase in OS from a median of 11-14.1 months (HR = 0.78) and planned to randomise 598 patients to observe 514 deaths. Results: After inclusion of 173 patients, the trial was prematurely closed due to low accrual. Baseline characteristics for gefitinib (n = 86) and placebo (n = 87) arms were well balanced. After a median follow up of 41 months, the difference in median OS in the gefitinib and placebo arms was not statistically significant (10.9 and 9.4 months, HR 0.83 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.60-1.15]; p = 0.2). The difference in median PFS significantly favoured gefitinib (4.1 and 2.9 months, HR = 0.61, [95% CI 0.45, 0.83]), p = 0.0015). Adverse events reported in more than 10% of patients were rash (47% with gefitinib versus 13% with placebo) and diarrhoea (34% with gefitinib versus13% with placebo). Conclusions: Despite its premature closure, this trial confirms previous evidence that consolidation gefitinib is safe and improves PFS. However, no difference in OS was observed in this study (NCT00091156).

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European Journal of Cancer
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Gaafar, R., Surmont, V., Scagliotti, G., van Klaveren, R., Papamichael, D., Welch, J., … van Meerbeeck, J. (2011). A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled phase III intergroup study of gefitinib in patients with advanced NSCLC, non-progressing after first line platinum-based chemotherapy (EORTC 08021/ILCP 01/03). European Journal of Cancer, 47(15), 2331–2340. doi:10.1016/j.ejca.2011.06.045