publication date: Oct. 30, 2014

Afatinib Delays Tumor Growth in LUX-Head and Neck 1 Study


Results from the LUX-Head & Neck 1 study showed that afatinib significantly delayed tumor growth compared to chemotherapy in patients following failure of their previous treatment, reducing the risk for disease progression by 20 percent.

The global phase III trial evaluated 483 patients with recurrent and/or metastatic head and neck squamous cell cancer, comparing afatinib to methotrexate chemotherapy.

The trial met its primary endpoint of progression-free survival: patients taking afatinib, after failure of previous platinum-based chemotherapy, experienced a significant delay in tumor growth of 2.6 months, compared to 1.7 months with chemotherapy.

This translated into a 20 percent reduction in risk of disease progression, according to Boehringer Ingelheim, afatinib’s sponsor. The trial data were presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology 2014 Congress in Madrid.

Afatinib, a once-daily, irreversible ErbB blocker, also significantly improved the disease control rate, 49.1 percent vs. 38.5 percent. No significant difference between afatinib and chemotherapy was observed regarding overall survival, with a median 6.8 months compared to 6.0 months, respectively.

In quality-of-life questionnaires, patients taking afatinib reported significantly less pain and a delay in time to worsening of symptoms including pain, swallowing and global health status when compared to chemotherapy.

Afatinib (Gilotrif) is indicated for the treatment of distinct types of EGFR mutation-positive non-small cell lung cancer.

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