EGFR-TKI rechallenge with bevacizumab in EGFR-mutant non-small cell lung cancer
PURPOSE Whether bevacizumab enhances the effect of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor gefitinib on EGFR mutant non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) remains unknown. We conducted a phase II trial to investigate the efficacy and safety of gefitinib when combined with bevacizumab as first-line therapy in patients with advanced NSCLC harboring EGFR gene mutations. METHODS In this trial, 42 patients with a performance status of 0 to 2 received gefitinib (250 mg/d) and bevacizumab (15 mg/kg, every 3 weeks). The primary end point of this study was the 1-year progression-free survival (PFS) rate. We assumed that a 1-year PFS rate of 55% would indicate potential usefulness and that a 1-year PFS rate of 40% would constitute the lower limit of interest. RESULTS Forty-two patients were enrolled in the study with a median age of 73 (range 42-86) years. Activating EGFR gene mutations included exon 19 deletion (57%) and L858R point mutations in exon 21 (38%). The objective response rate was 73.8% and included two complete responses. The 1-year PFS rate and median PFS time were 56.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] 39.9-70.5) and 14.4 months (95% CI 10.1-19.2), respectively. The median PFS differed significantly between EGFR exon 19 deletion and the L858R point mutation (18.0 versus 9.4 months, respectively; p = 0.006). The median overall survival had not yet been reached. Severe adverse events included grade 3 skin rash (15%), hypertension (17%), aspartate transaminase/alanine aminotransferase elevation (17%), proteinuria (7%), intracranial hemorrhage (2%), and grade 4 perforation of the digestive tract (2%). There were no treatment-related deaths. CONCLUSION Gefitinib in combination with bevacizumab as first-line therapy seems to be a favorable and well-tolerated treatment for patients with advanced NSCLC with activating EGFR gene mutations, especially those with EGFR exon 19 deletion mutations, although the primary end point was not met because the lower limit of the CI was less than 40%.