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.
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).
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.
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.