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Pirker R.,Medical University of Vienna | Pereira J.R.,Arnaldo Vieira Of Carvalho Cancer Institute | Von Pawel J.,Asklepios Fachkliniken | Krzakowski M.,Maria Curie Sklodowska University | And 10 more authors.
The Lancet Oncology | Year: 2012

Background: Findings from the phase 3 First-Line ErbituX in lung cancer (FLEX) study showed that the addition of cetuximab to first-line chemotherapy significantly improved overall survival compared with chemotherapy alone (hazard ratio [HR] 0·871, 95% CI 0·762-0·996; p=0·044) in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). To define patients benefiting most from cetuximab, we studied the association of tumour EGFR expression level with clinical outcome in FLEX study patients. Methods: We used prospectively collected tumour EGFR expression data to generate an immunohistochemistry score for FLEX study patients on a continuous scale of 0-300. We used response data to select an outcome-based discriminatory threshold immunohistochemistry score for EGFR expression of 200. Treatment outcome was analysed in patients with low (immunohistochemistry score <200) and high (≥200) tumour EGFR expression. The primary endpoint in the FLEX study was overall survival. We analysed patients from the FLEX intention-to-treat (ITT) population. The FLEX study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00148798. Findings: Tumour EGFR immunohistochemistry data were available for 1121 of 1125 (99·6%) patients from the FLEX study ITT population. High EGFR expression was scored for 345 (31%) evaluable patients and low for 776 (69%) patients. For patients in the high EGFR expression group, overall survival was longer in the chemotherapy plus cetuximab group than in the chemotherapy alone group (median 12·0 months [95% CI 10·2-15·2] vs 9·6 months [7·6-10·6]; HR 0·73, 0·58-0·93; p=0·011), with no meaningful increase in side-effects. We recorded no corresponding survival benefit for patients in the low EGFR expression group (median 9·8 months [8·9-12·2] vs 10·3 months [9·2-11·5]; HR 0·99, 0·84-1·16; p=0·88). A treatment interaction test assessing the difference in the HRs for overall survival between the EGFR expression groups suggested a predictive value for EGFR expression (p=0·044). Interpretation: High EGFR expression is a tumour biomarker that can predict survival benefit from the addition of cetuximab to first-line chemotherapy in patients with advanced NSCLC. Assessment of EGFR expression could offer a personalised treatment approach in this setting. Funding: Merck KGaA. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Gatzemeier U.,Hospital Grosshansdorf | von Pawel J.,Zentrum fuer Onkologie | Vynnychenko I.,Sumy Regional Oncology Center | Zatloukal P.,Charles University | And 8 more authors.
The Lancet Oncology | Year: 2011

Background: The randomised phase 3 First-Line Erbitux in Lung Cancer (FLEX) study showed that the addition of cetuximab to cisplatin and vinorelbine significantly improved overall survival compared with chemotherapy alone in the first-line treatment of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The main cetuximab-related side-effect was acne-like rash. Here, we assessed the association of this acne-like rash with clinical benefit. Methods: We did a subgroup analysis of patients in the FLEX study, which enrolled patients with advanced NSCLC whose tumours expressed epidermal growth factor receptor. Our landmark analysis assessed if the development of acne-like rash in the first 21 days of treatment (first-cycle rash) was associated with clinical outcome, on the basis of patients in the intention-to-treat population alive on day 21. The FLEX study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00148798. Findings: 518 patients in the chemotherapy plus cetuximab group-290 of whom had first-cycle rash-and 540 patients in the chemotherapy alone group were alive on day 21. Patients in the chemotherapy plus cetuximab group with first-cycle rash had significantly prolonged overall survival compared with patients in the same treatment group without first-cycle rash (median 15·0 months [95% CI 12·8-16·4] vs 8·8 months [7·6-11·1]; hazard ratio [HR] 0·631 [0·515-0·774]; p<0·0001). Corresponding significant associations were also noted for progression-free survival (median 5·4 months [5·2-5·7] vs 4·3 months [4·1-5·3]; HR 0·741 [0·607-0·905]; p=0·0031) and response (rate 44·8% [39·0-50·8] vs 32·0% [26·0-38·5]; odds ratio 1·703 [1·186-2·448]; p=0·0039). Overall survival for patients without first-cycle rash was similar to that of patients that received chemotherapy alone (median 8·8 months [7·6-11·1] vs 10·3 months [9·6-11·3]; HR 1·085 [0·910-1·293]; p=0·36). The significant overall survival benefit for patients with first-cycle rash versus without was seen in all histology subgroups: adenocarcinoma (median 16·9 months, [14·1-20·6] vs 9·3 months [7·7-13·2]; HR 0·614 [0·453-0·832]; p=0·0015), squamous-cell carcinoma (median 13·2 months [10·6-16·0] vs 8·1 months [6·7-12·6]; HR 0·659 [0·472-0·921]; p=0·014), and carcinomas of other histology (median 12·6 months [9·2-16·4] vs 6·9 months [5·2-11·0]; HR 0·616 [0·392-0·966]; p=0·033). Interpretation: First-cycle rash was associated with a better outcome in patients with advanced NSCLC who received cisplatin and vinorelbine plus cetuximab as a first-line treatment. First-cycle rash might be a surrogate clinical marker that could be used to tailor cetuximab treatment for advanced NSCLC to those patients who would be most likely to derive a significant benefit. Funding: Merck KGaA. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Graziano P.,Anatomic Pathology Unit | Cardillo G.,Thoracic Surgery Unit | Mancuso A.,Medical Oncology Unit | Paone G.,San Camillo Forlanini Hospital | And 3 more authors.
Chest | Year: 2011

The main difficulty with multiple lung tumors is distinguishing synchronous and metachronous lesions from second independent primary tumors, particularly when dealing with the same histologic type. Challenging diagnostic hurdles may explain, at least in part, the extremely variable (0%-79%) 5-year survival rate. We present a case report of a patient with synchronous primary adenocarcinoma treated with surgery that exhibited different EGFR gene status, with an exon 19 mutation in the adenocarcinoma of the left upper lobe that was absent in the right upper lobe. Further, specific EGFR and C-MYC amplification events were associated only with the EGFR-mutated lesion. According to an independent evolution theory, these events were classified as early stage, and the patient is still alive and free of disease 70 months after surgery. Molecular evaluation was an important tool to support the diagnosis of synchronous primary adenocarcinoma, which had not been possible with the application of Martini-Melamed criteria. © 2011 American College of Chest Physicians.


Pirker R.,Medical University of Vienna | Pereira J.R.,Arnaldo Vieira Of Carvalho Cancer Institute | Szczesna A.,Mazowieckie Centrum Leczenia Chorob Pluc i Gruzlicy | von Pawel J.,Pneumology Clinic | And 10 more authors.
Lung Cancer | Year: 2012

The FLEX study demonstrated that the addition of cetuximab to chemotherapy significantly improved overall survival in the first-line treatment of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In the FLEX intention to treat (ITT) population, we investigated the prognostic significance of particular baseline characteristics. Individual patient data from the treatment arms of the ITT population of the FLEX study were combined. Univariable and multivariable Cox regression models were used to investigate variables with potential prognostic value. The ITT population comprised 1125 patients. In the univariable analysis, longer median survival times were apparent for females compared with males (12.7 vs 9.3 months); patients with an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (ECOG PS) of 0 compared with 1 compared with 2 (13.5 vs 10.6 vs 5.9 months); never smokers compared with former smokers compared with current smokers (14.6 vs 11.1 vs 9.0); Asians compared with Caucasians (19.5 vs 9.6 months); patients with adenocarcinoma compared with squamous cell carcinoma (12.4 vs 9.3 months) and those with metastases to one site compared with two sites compared with three or more sites (12.4 months vs 9.8 months vs 6.4 months). Age (<65 vs ≥65 years), tumor stage (IIIB with pleural effusion vs IV) and percentage of tumor cells expressing EGFR (<40% vs ≥40%) were not identified as possible prognostic factors in relation to survival time. In multivariable analysis, a stepwise selection procedure identified age (<65 vs ≥65 years), gender, ECOG PS, smoking status, region, tumor histology, and number of organs involved as independent factors of prognostic value. In summary, in patients with advanced NSCLC enrolled in the FLEX study, and consistent with previous analyses, particular patient and disease characteristics at baseline were shown to be independent factors of prognostic value. The FLEX study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00148798. © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Gridelli C.,Medical Oncology | Ardizzoni A.,University of Parma | Douillard J.-Y.,University of Nantes | Hanna N.,Indiana University | And 8 more authors.
Lung Cancer | Year: 2010

Platinum-based chemotherapy is the standard first-line treatment for patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, randomized trials have recently demonstrated the efficacy of several new drugs (pemetrexed, bevacizumab, cetuximab, erlotinib, gefitinib) in this setting. Hence, the choice of optimal treatment is no longer limited to the different platinum-based doublets. In order to guide clinical management of patients with advanced NSCLC, assess the strengths and limitations of available evidence, and to suggest priorities for clinical research, the Italian Association of Thoracic Oncology organized an International Expert Panel Meeting on the first-line treatment of advanced NSCLC, which took place in Sperlonga (Italy) in May 2009. Experts recommended that every effort should be made to obtain adequate tumor tissue before initiating treatment. Tumor histology/cytology subtyping is now important for the correct choice of treatment. In particular, considering efficacy data obtained with pemetrexed and safety concerns with bevacizumab, a division between squamous and non-squamous tumors is necessary. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation analysis, at present, is not recommended in all patients, but should be performed in subgroups of patients characterized by higher prevalence of sensitizing mutations (Asians, never smokers, women, adenocarcinoma). When a mutation is present, first-line treatment with single-agent EGFR tyrosine-kinase inhibitor may be considered. Finally, the potential benefit of maintenance treatment for patients without progression at the end of first-line should be carefully discussed with each patient. Although the number of treatment options for patients with advanced NSCLC has increased recently, their results remain modest and further research is mandatory. © 2009 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

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