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Afatinib shows safety and efficacy among elderly



– Afatinib appears safe and effective for elderly patients with EGFR-positive non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to investigators.

A retrospective analysis of the phase 3 GIDEON trial showed similar objective responses, disease control rates, and progression-free survival rates among elderly patients, compared with younger patients, reported lead author Wolfgang M. Brückl, MD, of Universitätsklinik der Paracelsus Medizinischen Privatuniversität in Nürnberg, Germany, and his colleagues. These findings were presented in a poster at the European Lung Cancer Congress.

“Elderly patients are often underrepresented in clinical trials,” the investigators wrote, “which can lead to uncertainties regarding optimal treatment of such patients in routine clinical practice. The GIDEON noninterventional study enrolled a high proportion of patients aged 70 years or older, providing an opportunity to study the real-world use of afatinib in older individuals.”

The GIDEON study involved 160 patients with EGFR-positive NSCLC who were treated at 49 centers in Germany between 2014 and 2016. From this total, 151 patients were available for interim analysis, and 67 patients (44%) were at least 70-years old. Among this elderly group, about one out of five patients (22%) had brain metastases and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status scores were typically 1 (45%) or 0 (42%).

Compared with younger patients, elderly patients were more likely to receive a lower starting dose of afatinib (62% vs. 83%), which usually entailed a decrease from 40 mg to 30 mg. Thereafter, dose reduction rates were similar between age groups, with 58% of younger patients requiring lower doses and 55% of elderly patients requiring reduced doses. Adverse events were comparable across age groups, although a fraction more of the patients 70 years or older discontinued treatment because of serious adverse drug reactions (12% vs. 7%).

Efficacy results were also comparable between age groups. Overall response rates were slightly higher among elderly patients than younger patients, with a 70-year age threshold (78% vs. 70%); disease control rate was marginally higher among the elderly (93% vs. 89%); and elderly patients had a slightly better 12-month PFS rate (62.2% vs. 49.1%).

“Data from the GIDEON noninterventional study provide important information on the routine clinical use of afatinib in elderly patients,” the investigators concluded.

The study was funded by Boehringer Ingelheim. The investigators did not report conflicts of interest.

SOURCE: Brückl WM et al. ELCC 2019. Abstract 125P.

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