Effect of gefitinib ('Iressa', ZD1839) on brain metastases in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer

Katsuyuki Hotta, Katsuyuki Kiura, Hiroshi Ueoka, Masahiro Tabata, Keiichi Fujiwara, Toshiyuki Kozuki, Toshiaki Okada, Akiko Hisamoto, Mitsune Tanimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

166 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Gefitinib ('Iressa', ZD1839), an orally active epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitor (EGFR-TKI), has shown antitumor activity in refractory patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in clinical trials. We have retrospectively analyzed the efficacy and tolerability of gefitinib in patients with advanced NSCLC treated at Okayama University Hospital. Methods: We reviewed the clinical records of 57 patients with advanced NSCLC who had received 250 mg/day gefitinib at our hospital between November 2000 and May 2003. Correlations between the sensitivity of brain metastases and extracranial disease following treatment with gefitinib were also investigated. Results: Extracranial objective responses were observed in 15 (27%; 95% confidence interval 15.8-40.3%) patients. Fourteen out of 57 patients had brain metastases; six experienced objective responses (one complete response, CR and five partial responses, PR) and eight had stable disease (SD) in the brain. Seven out of 14 patients with brain metastases experienced objective responses in their extracranial tumors and, interestingly, objective responses in the brain were observed in six (86%) of these patients. Multivariate analysis found that advanced age (≥70 years) and the presence of brain metastases were associated with clinical response to gefitinib (P = 0.01 and 0.05, respectively), and that female patients were more likely to respond. Median survival and median duration of response were 9.1 and 7.7 months, respectively. The majority of adverse events (AEs) were mild and reversible skin and gastrointestinal disorders, with grade 3 adverse events observed in six (11%) patients. Conclusions: This retrospective analysis has found that gefitinib is effective and well tolerated in patients with refractory NSCLC, confirming previous phase II trial data. Interestingly, gefitinib appeared to be effective for brain metastases as well as extracranial tumors. Further prospective trials are warranted to evaluate the efficacy of gefitinib in elderly patients and in patients with brain metastases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-261
Number of pages7
JournalLung Cancer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004


  • Brain metastasis
  • Extracranial disease
  • Gefitinib
  • Non-small-cell lung cancer
  • Prior chemotherapy
  • Skin reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cancer Research


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