What is the role of erlotinib in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)?

Updated: Aug 21, 2019
  • Author: Maurie Markman, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Keith K Vaux, MD  more...
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Based on these data and other clinical trial data showing improved progression-free-survival with erlotinib in patients with EGFR mutations, [19, 20] current guidelines recommend testing all patients with metastatic NSCLC adenocarcinomas for the presence of activating EGFR mutations and to use an EGFR-TKI as first-line therapy in patients with adenocarcinoma and a known EGFR mutation. [1, 2]

In May 2013, erlotinib was approved for first-line treatment of NSCLC whose tumors have EGFR exon 19 deletions or exon 21 (L858R) substitution mutations. Until that time, the official indication was second- or third-line use in advanced NSCLC. First-line use includes the use of the cobas EGFR Mutation Test, a companion diagnostic for erlotinib.

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