An irreversible ErbB family blocker is expected to inhibit tumors with activating epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations more strongly than reversible EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors and to overcome acquired resistance to the T790M secondary mutation. Eleven-week-old transgenic mice with Egfr exon 19 deletion mutation were treated with afatinib, gefitinib, or vehicle for 4 weeks. All mice were sacrificed at 15 weeks of age, and the number of superficial left lung tumors with a long axis exceeding 1 mm was counted. The afatinib-treated group had significantly fewer tumors than the vehicle group (P < 0.01) and tended to have fewer tumors than the gefitinib-treated group (P = 0.06). Pathologically, gefitinib-treated mice had clearer, more nodular tumors than afatinib-treated mice. Immunoblotting showed that afatinib suppressed not only pEGFR but also pHER2, and induced apoptosis for longer periods than gefitinib. Subsequently, when each drug was administered 5 days per week until death, afatinib significantly enhanced mouse survival compared with gefitinib (median survival time: 456 days vs. 376.5 days; log-rank test, P < 0.01). Finally, the combination of afatinib with bevacizumab was found to be superior to either drug alone in exon 19 deletion/T790M and L858R/T790M xenograft tumors. Overall, afatinib was more potent than gefitinib in tumors harboring an exon 19 deletion mutation, and the combination of afatinib with bevacizumab efficiently suppressed tumors harboring the T790M secondary mutation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research