Korean J Med.  2009 Feb;76(2):179-185.

Comparison of the therapeutic outcome between gefitinib and erlotinib in female patients with non-small-cell lung cancer

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Kosin University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea. jangtw@ns.kosinmed.or.kr


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. There are significant gender differences in lung cancer: most females with lung cancer are non-smokers and they are diagnosed with adenocarcinoma. Epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs) are more effective in female lung cancer patients, but the results with gefitinib and erlotinib differ. This study compared the therapeutic response and toxicity of gefitinib and erlotinib in female lung cancer patients. Method: We retrospectively reviewed the clinical information on patients treated with gefitinib or erlotinib for more than one month at Kosin University Gospel Hospital from February 2004 to November 2007.
Forty-two patients (26 gefitinib vs. 16 erlotinib) were enrolled during this period. Their median age was 58 years. Thirty-six patients (85%) were non-smokers and 35 patients (83%) had adenocarcinoma. There were 24% at stage IIIb and 76% at stage IV. The median survival time was 793 days. In the gefitinib group, 69% of the patients received 3rd-line chemotherapy, while 12 of 16 (87.5%) in the erlotinib group received 2nd-line chemotherapy. There were no significant differences in the overall response rate (gefitinib 39% vs. erlotinib 31%, p=0.524), median survival time (gefitinib 605 days vs. erlotinib 510 days, p=0.455), and time to progression (gefitinib 186 days vs. erlotinib 262 days, p=0.660). Rashes were more common in the erlotinib group (73.3% vs. 27%, p<0.001).
There were no significant differences in the response rate, overall survival, and time to progression between the two groups. Rashes were more common in the erlotinib group.


Female; Non-small-cell lung cancer; Gefitinib, Erlotinib
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