(HealthDay News) — Treatment with epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor erlotinib combined with cisplatin-based chemoradiation seems safe and effective for locally advanced cervical cancer, according to a study published online March 10 in Cancer.

Angelica Nogueira-Rodrigues, MD, PhD, from the National Cancer Institute in Rio de Janeiro, and colleagues conducted a phase 2 trial of erlotinib combined with cisplatin-based chemoradiation. Women with stage IIB to IIIB epidermoid cervical cancer with no prior therapy and with an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0 to 2 were recruited.

Treatment comprised 150 mg/day erlotinib for 1 week before and in combination with cisplatin (40 mg/m² administered weekly for five cycles) and radiotherapy (4,500 centigrays in 25 fractions), followed by brachytherapy (four fractions at a dose of 600 centigrays weekly).

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Thirty-six women completed the treatment. The researchers found the median therapy duration was 77 days and patients were followed for a median of 59.3 months.

Most patients (94.4%) achieved a complete response and therapy was well tolerated overall. The cumulative overall and progression-free survival rates, respectively, were 91.7% and 80.6% at 2 years and 80% and 73.8% at three years.

“To the best of [our] knowledge, this is the first study to date to demonstrate that a target agent has promising activity against locally advanced cervical cancer,” the researchers wrote.

Erlotinib was supplied by Roche Pharmaceuticals.


  1. Nogueira-Rodrigues A, Moralez G, Grazziotin R, et al. Phase 2 trial of erlotinib combined with cisplatin and radiotherapy in patients with locally advanced cervical cancer. Cancer. 2014; doi:10.1002/cncr.28471.