Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Does Afatinib Improve Outcomes in HER2-Mutant Lung Cancer?

By: Kayci Reyer
Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2019

According to research published in the European Journal of Cancer, the pan-HER inhibitor afatinib was “modestly active” in patients with HER2-mutant lung cancer, including those whose disease progressed on previous HER2-targeted therapies. However, this small retrospective international study highlights the unmet clinical need for more effective HER2-targeted therapies for this patient population.

“Investigations into the biology of HER2-mutant lung adenocarcinomas and development of better HER2-directed therapies are warranted,” concluded W. Victoria Lai, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and colleagues.

The multicenter study included 23 patients with stage IV or recurrent HER2-mutant lung cancer who were treated with afatinib and considered evaluable for response. A total of 3 patients achieved partial response (13%), all of whom had HER2 exon 20 insertions (2 with YVMA insertion, 1 with VAG insertion). Among the patients achieving partial response, two had previously undergone treatment with trastuzumab and pertuzumab.

The median time on afatinib treatment was 3 months, with a median response duration of 6 months. The median overall survival from the date of diagnosis was 23 months. In addition to those achieving a partial response, a total of 7 patients had disease progression (30%), and 13 had stable disease (57%).

Disclosure: The study authors’ disclosure information may be found at

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