Background & objectives: Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) have been evaluated in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Erlotinib and gefitinib are the first-generation EGFR-TKIs for patients with NSCLC. However, there is a paucity of studies comparing the effectiveness of these two drugs. Hence, this study was aimed to compare the effectiveness and safety of erlotinib and gefitinib in NSCLC patients.
Methods:This study included 71 NSCLC patients who received EGFR-TKIs between 2013 and 2016. Adverse drug reaction of both erlotinib (n=37) and gefitinib (n=34) was determined and graded according to Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events grading system. Effectiveness was measured using response evaluation criteria in solid tumours and progression-free survival (PFS). Pharmacoeconomic analysis was performed by cost-effective analysis.
Results: When comparing safety profile, both the drugs had similar adverse events except for dermal side effects such as acneiform eruption (51.4%), rash (54.05%) and mucositis (59.5%) for erlotinib and 20.6, 26.5 and 29.4 per cent for gefitinib, respectively. The PFS of the two drugs was compared to differentiate the effectiveness of erlotinib and gefitinib. There was no significant difference between the effectiveness of the two drugs. The pharmacoeconomic analysis showed that gefitinib was more cost-effective than erlotinib.
Interpretation & conclusions:This study showed that erlotinib and gefitinib had similar effectiveness but gefitinib had a better safety profile compared to erlotinib. Therefore, gefitinib could be considered a better option for NSCLC patients compared to erlotinib. However, further studies need to be done with a large sample to confirm these findings.
P. Thomas, Vincent, B., George, C., Joshua, J. Mariam, Dr. Pavithran K., and Meenu Vijayan, “A comparative study on erlotinib & gefitinib therapy in non-small cell lung carcinoma patients”, Indian J Med Res, vol. 150, no. 1, pp. 67-72, 2019.