Old person hospital admissionPhase III data from the LUX-Lung 8 trial, the first study to directly compare the efficacy of afatinib versus erlotinib patients with advanced squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the lung, demonstrated superior progression-free survival (PFS: length of time before the tumour starts to progress) of afatinib compared to erlotinib.

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common form of lung cancer, limited treatment options currently exist for patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the lung which represents approximately 30% of NSCLC cases. The results were presented  at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2014 Congress.

Dr Charles De Wet, Medical Director Boehringer Ingelheim UK and Ireland commented: "Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common form of lung cancer with limited treatment options. We are pleased that the results of the LUX-Lung 8 trial demonstrate the progression-free survival benefit for afatinib over erlotinib in advance squamous cell carcinoma of the lungs. They are an important step in advancing treatments for these patients." 


Afatinib, which is not licensed in the UK for the treatment of squamous cell carcinoma of the lung, is an irreversible ErbB Family blocker and it significantly reduced the risk of disease progression by 18% when compared to erlotinib and significantly improved PFS by independent review (2.4 vs. 1.9 months). In addition, afatinib showed improvement in the secondary endpoint of disease control rate (OCR: the percentage of patients who achieved complete response, partial response and stable disease) with a DCR of 45.7% vs. 36.8% compared to erlotinib. The objective response rate (ORR: percentage of patients who achieved a partial or complete response to therapy) was 4.8% compared to 3.0% for erlotinib. 

Favorable trends were noted in delaying the worsening of lung cancer symptoms and global health status/quality of life for afatinib compared to erlotinib. Results of overall survival (OS: length of time patients live for), the key secondary endpoint, will be assessed at a later stage in the trial and reported at a future medical congress.

Afatinib (GIOTRIF'") is indicated as monotherapy for the treatment of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) TKI-na'ive adult patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with activating EGFR mutation(s).

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in the UK, accounting for 13% of new cases each year\ and smoking is attributed as the main cause. Because of its poor prognosis, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality, accounting for more than a fifth of all cancer deaths in the UK. There .are many types of lung cancer, and each type requires a specific treatment approach.