Background Lung cancer is the most common malignancy in the world, with approximately 1.4 million new cases per year, representing 16.6% of all tumours in men and 7.5% in women. It is the leading cause of cancer death.
According to the European Medicines Agency erlotinib is indicated in non-small cell lung cancer.
Erlotinib is a cytostatic selective inhibitor of tyrosine kinase coupled to EGFR.
Purpose To determine the survival of patients with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with erlotinib.
Materials and Methods Retrospective cohort study of all patients treated with erlotinib from 1 January 2011 to 15 June 2012 in a regional tertiary level hospital. Data collection: Viewed outpatient dispensing programme (Cafydim), reviewed medical records.
Kaplan-Meier method: to determine the probability of global survival.
Logrank method: to compare the survival distributions of two samples.
Variables investigated: death, treatment time, treatment line and treatment discontinuation, Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) mutation (positive or negative).
Results Fifty patients were included. Thirty of them died. The average survival of the patients was 244.9 days with an IC95% [195.3–294.5]. 50% of the patients were alive at 180 days with IC95% [104.9–255.1].
The probability of remaining alive at the end of the study for patients with first-line treatment was 6.7% vs. 45% with the second or third line.
Survival as a function of treatment dropout: no patients who discontinued treatment during the study lived longer than if they continued treatment (8.7% vs. 18.8%).
No determinations of EGFR mutation were made.
Conclusions Erolitinib is emerging as an effective drug that increases survival in patients with NSCLC if it is administered as second or third line vs. first line.
It is necessary to determine EGFR mutations to prevent drugs being administered to patients with negative mutations.
No conflict of interest.
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