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Gefitinib in advanced non-small cell lung cancer

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Abstract Background: 

Gefitinib is an oral, selective epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor that has activity in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Aim: 

To evaluate the tolerability, safety-profile and response of single agent gefitinib in patients with advanced stage NSCLC. Methods: 

Twenty-seven patients of good performance status with stage IIIB or IV NSCLC were entered on the study at the Sydney Cancer Centre. Gefitinib was prescribed at an oral dose of 250 mg daily, as a continuous dose. Radiological evaluation of indicator lesions occurred at baseline and were repeated every 2–3 months until disease progression. Toxicity was graded using standard measures at baseline and at every month. Results: 

The response rate was 17% in the patients eligible for evaluation. Symptom improvement was observed in 75% of patients. No patients withdrew because of adverse events. Toxicity was observed in 15 patients and consisted mainly of rash (59%), which was usually mild in severity. Conclusion: 

Gefitinib is active in NSCLC. It is well tolerated with minimal side-effects. Symptomatic improvement was found in the majority of patients treated with gefitinib. There may be a role for gefitinib in the palliation of symptoms in patients with advanced NSCLC. (Intern Med J 2005; 35: 77–82)
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Keywords: gefitinib; non-small cell lung cancer; palliation; symptom control

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Sydney Cancer Centre, Australia

Publication date: 2005-02-01

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