Introduction: Tyrosine kinase inhibitors gefitinib, erlotinib, and afatinib have been compared with chemotherapy as first-line therapies for patients with advanced non–small-cell lung cancer harboring epidermal growth factor receptor–activating mutations. This meta-analysis compares gefitinib, erlotinib, afatinib, and chemotherapy.
Methods: Literature search was performed using relevant keywords. Direct and indirect meta-estimates were generated using log-linear mixed-effects models, with random effects for study. Study-to-study heterogeneity was summarized using I2 statistics and predictive intervals (PIs).
Results: Literature search yielded eight randomized phase 3 clinical trials comparing gefitinib, erlotinib, or afatinib with chemotherapy as first-line therapy in patients with advanced non–small-cell lung cancer during the last 5 years. Hazard ratio meta-estimates for progression-free survival were for gefitinib versus chemotherapy 0.44 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.31–0.63; 95% PI, 0.22–0.88), erlotinib versus chemotherapy 0.25 (95% CI, 0.15–0.42; 95% PI, 0.11–0.55), afatinib versus chemotherapy 0.44 (95% CI, 0.26–0.75; 95% PI, 0.20–0.98), erlotinib versus gefitinib 0.57 (95% CI, 0.30–1.08; 95% PI, 0.24–1.36), afatinib versus gefitinib 1.01 (95% CI, 0.53–1.92; 95% PI, 0.41–2.42), and erlotinib versus afatinib 0.56 (95% CI, 0.27–1.18; 95% PI, 0.22–1.46). Results for overall response rate and disease control rate were similar. There was no evidence that gefitinib, erlotinib, or afatinib improved overall survival compared with chemotherapy.
Conclusion: Gefitinib, erlotinib, and afatinib out-performed chemotherapy in terms of progression-free survival, overall response rate, and disease control rate. Differences among gefitinib, erlotinib, and afatinib were not statistically significant.