Afatinib could be an additional option for the second-line treatment of patients with advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the lung, a new study published online ahead of print in the journal The Lancet Oncology has shown.1

Squamous cell carcinoma of the lung is a subtype of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), which comprises 85% of all lung cancers, according to the American Cancer Society.2

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) currently recommends erlotinib for the second-line treatment of patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the lung and a performance status of 3 to 4 after disease progression following chemotherapy.

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Patients with a performance status of 0 to 2 may receive nivolumab, docetaxel, erlotinib, gemcitabine, or ramucirumab plus docetaxel.3

For the open-label, controlled, phase 3 LUX-Lung 8 study, researchers sought to compare afatinib with erlotinib as second-line treatment for patients with advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the lung.1

RELATED: For Del19 EGFR Mutation-Positive Lung Adenocarcinoma, Afatinib Improves Overall Survival

Researchers enrolled 795 patients with stage 3B or 4 squamous cell carcinoma of the lung who had experienced disease progression after at least four cycles of platinum-based chemotherapy. Patients were randomly assigned 1:1 to receive afatinib 40 mg/day or erlotinib 150 mg/day until disease progression.1

Results showed that median progression-free survival at the time of primary analysis progression-free survival was 2.4 months (95% CI: 1.9, 2.9) with afatinib compared to 1.9 months (95% CI: 1.9, 2.2) with erlotinib (HR=0.82; 95% CI: 0.68, 1.00; P=0.0427).1

Researchers found that median overall survival was 7.9 months (95% CI: 7.2, 8.7) with afatinib versus 6.8 months (95% CI: 5.9, 7.8) with erlotinib (HR=0.81; 95% CI: 0.69, 0.95; P=0.0077) at the time of the primary analysis of overall survival.1

Moreover, 26% of patients in the afatinib group experienced tumor shrinkage compared with 23% in the erlotinib group.1