A phase 2 trial combining afatinib with cetuximab in patients with <i>EGFR</i> exon 20 insertion-positive non-small cell lung cancer

BAMH van Veggel, AJ van der Wekken, MS Paats, LEL Hendriks, SMS Hashemi, A Daletzakis, D van den Broek, LJW Bosch, K Monkhorst, EF Smit, AJ de Langen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) exon 20 insertion (ex20ins) mutations are the third most common EGFR mutations in patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and are associated with primary resistance to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). There is evidence of activity of combining EGFR TKIs with monoclonal antibodies. This study reports on the efficacy and safety of afatinib in combination with cetuximab.

In this single-arm phase 2 trial, patients with advanced NSCLC harboring an EGFR ex20ins mutation were treated with afatinib 40 mg once daily in combination with cetuximab 500 mg/m2 every 2 weeks. The primary end point was disease control rate (DCR) at 18 weeks of treatment.

Thirty-seven patients started treatment, with a median age of 65 years (range, 40–80 years), 78% female, and 95% White. The study achieved its primary end point with a DCR of 54% at 18 weeks, an overall response rate (ORR) of 43%, and a 32% confirmed ORR. Best responses were partial (n = 16), stable (n = 16), progressive disease (n = 2), or not evaluable (n = 3). Median progression-free survival was 5.5 months (95% CI, 3.7–8.3 months) and median overall survival was 16.8 months (95% CI, 10.7–25.8 months). The most common treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs) were diarrhea (70%), rash (65%), dry skin (59%), paronychia (54%), and erythema (43%). Grade 3 TRAEs were reported in 54% of all patients.

Combination treatment with afatinib and cetuximab demonstrated antitumor activity with a DCR of 54% at 18 weeks and a 32% confirmed ORR. Toxicity was significant, although manageable, after dose reduction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-691
Number of pages9
Issue number5
Early online date31 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2024

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© 2023 American Cancer Society.


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