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      Fatal Interstitial Lung Disease after Addition of Sorafenib to a Patient with Lung Adenocarcinoma Who Had Failed to Improve with Erlotinib Alone

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          Interstitial lung disease (ILD) induced by epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors has been extensively documented with decreasing incidence after appropriate patient selection due to increasing awareness over the years. However, ILD induced by sorafenib was mentioned with lower frequency only in patients with hepatocellular and renal cell carcinoma living in Japan but not in patients with other carcinomas or living outside Japan, and it has been overlooked in clinical practice. In the present case, sorafenib was added to the treatment of a 60-year-old non-smoking patient with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). After his failing to improve with erlotinib alone, erlotinib was continued to be given in combination with sorafenib as a salvage therapy. Although clinical signs of ILD were observed 2 weeks after the addition of sorafenib, the radiological diagnosis of ILD was only made 41 days after the initiation of the combination treatment, and the patient died 56 days after treatment onset. It was concluded that ILD was indeed induced by sorafenib. This is the first report of ILD induced by sorafenib in a patient with NSCLC living outside Japan. Oncologists should be aware of this fatal complication for its early detection in order to avoid a severe course of ILD leading to a decrease in the ILD mortality rate.

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          Most cited references 11

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          Disease flare after tyrosine kinase inhibitor discontinuation in patients with EGFR-mutant lung cancer and acquired resistance to erlotinib or gefitinib: implications for clinical trial design.

          Treatment of patients with oncogene-addicted cancers with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) is biologically and clinically different than with cytotoxic chemotherapy. We have observed that some patients with EGFR-mutant lung cancer and acquired resistance to erlotinib or gefitinib (RECIST progression after initial benefit) have accelerated progression of disease after discontinuation of TKI. To examine this observation and define the course of patients following TKI discontinuation, we systematically evaluated patients enrolled on clinical trials of agents to treat acquired resistance to erlotinib or gefitinib. We evaluated patients with EGFR-mutant lung cancer who participated in trials for patients with acquired resistance that mandated TKI discontinuation before administration of study therapy. Disease flare was defined as hospitalization or death attributable to disease progression during the washout period. Fourteen of 61 patients (23%; 95% CI: 14-35) experienced a disease flare. The median time to disease flare after TKI discontinuation was 8 days (range 3-21). Factors associated with disease flare included shorter time to progression on initial TKI (P = 0.002) and the presence of pleural (P = 0.03) or CNS disease (P = 0.01). There was no association between disease flare and the presence of T790M at the time of acquired resistance. In patients with EGFR-mutant lung cancer and acquired resistance to epidermal growth factor receptor TKIs, discontinuation of erlotinib or gefitinib before initiation of study treatment is associated with a clinically significant risk of accelerated disease progression. Clinical trials in this patient population must minimize protocol-mandated washout periods. ©2011 AACR
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            FDA drug approval summary: erlotinib (Tarceva) tablets.

            On November 18, 2004, erlotinib (Tarceva); OSI Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Melville, NY,, and Genentech, Inc., South San Francisco, CA, received regular approval as monotherapy for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) after failure of at least one prior chemotherapy regimen. Survival of erlotinib-treated patients was superior to that of placebo-treated patients. The median survival duration of erlotinib-treated patients was 6.67 months, compared with 4.70 months for placebo-treated patients. Exploratory univariate analyses showed a larger survival prolongation in two subsets of patients: those who never smoked and those with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-positive tumors. Patients who never smoked and were EGFR-positive had a large erlotinib survival benefit. Erlotinib was also superior to placebo for progression-free survival and a response rate of 8.9% versus 0.9%. Skin rash and diarrhea were the most common erlotinib adverse events. Severe rash occurred in 8%, and severe diarrhea occurred in 6% of erlotinib-treated patients. In the first-line treatment of NSCLC, two large, controlled, randomized trials showed no benefit from adding erlotinib to doublet, platinum-based chemotherapy. Therefore, erlotinib is not indicated for use in this setting.
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              Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase II trial of sorafenib and erlotinib or erlotinib alone in previously treated advanced non-small-cell lung cancer.

              Sorafenib, an oral multikinase inhibitor, has shown preliminary activity in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Patients with advanced NSCLC were treated with erlotinib with or without sorafenib in this multicenter phase II trial. Key eligibility criteria included the following: stage IIIB or IV NSCLC; one to two prior regimens; Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0 to 2; and measurable disease. Patients were randomly assigned 2:1 to sorafenib (400 mg orally twice a day) plus erlotinib (150 mg orally daily) or placebo plus erlotinib and stratified by squamous/nonsquamous histology and prior bevacizumab. Treatment efficacy, measured by progression-free survival (PFS) and overall response rate (ORR), was compared. Treatment of 168 patients allowed detection of 40% improvement in the historical PFS of 2.2 months with single-agent erlotinib. One hundred sixty-eight patients enrolled from February 2008 to February 2009. Clinical characteristics of the two groups were similar. ORRs for sorafenib/erlotinib and placebo/erlotinib were 8% and 11%, respectively (P = .56); disease control rates were 54% and 38%, respectively (P = .056). Median PFS was 3.38 months for sorafenib/erlotinib versus 1.94 months for placebo/erlotinib (hazard ratio, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.60 to 1.22; P = .196). Seventy-two patients consented to analyses of tumor epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). In 67 patients with EGFR wild-type (WT) tumors, median PFS was 3.38 months for sorafenib/erlotinib versus 1.77 months for placebo/erlotinib (P = .018); median overall survival (OS) was 8 months for sorafenib/erlotinib versus 4.5 months for placebo/erlotinib (P = .019). An OS advantage for sorafenib/erlotinib was suggested among 43 patients with fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) EGFR-negative tumors (P = .064). Both regimens were tolerable, with modest toxicity increase with sorafenib. Although there was little difference in ORR or PFS, subset analyses in EGFR WT and EGFR FISH-negative patients suggest a benefit for the combination of erlotinib/sorafenib compared with single-agent erlotinib with respect to PFS and OS.

                Author and article information

                Case Reports in Oncology
                S. Karger AG
                January – April 2014
                25 April 2014
                : 7
                : 1
                : 273-276
                Departments of aMedical Oncology and bRadiology, the Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing, and cDepartment of Medical Oncology, the Chinese PLA General Hospital (Hainan branch), Sanya, China
                Author notes
                *Shun-Chang Jiao, Department of Medical Oncology, The Chinese PLA General Hospital, No. 28 Fuxing Road, Haidian District, Beijing, 100853 (China), E-Mail
                362402 PMC4036133 Case Rep Oncol 2014;7:273-276
                © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Open Access License: This is an Open Access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC) (, applicable to the online version of the article only. Distribution permitted for non-commercial purposes only. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

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                Published: April 2014


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