Gefitinib versus docetaxel in previously treated non-small-cell lung cancer (INTEREST): a randomised phase III trial

Edward S. Kim, Vera Hirsh, Tony Mok, Mark A. Socinski, Radj Gervais, Yi Long Wu, Long Yun Li, Claire L. Watkins, Mark V. Sellers, Elizabeth S. Lowe, Yan Sun, Mei Lin Liao, Kell Østerlind, Martin Reck, Alison A. Armour, Frances A. Shepherd, Scott M. Lippman, Jean Yves Douillard

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1223 Scopus citations


Background: Two phase II trials in patients with previously-treated advanced non-small-cell lung cancer suggested that gefitinib was efficacious and less toxic than was chemotherapy. We compared gefitinib with docetaxel in patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer who had been pretreated with platinum-based chemotherapy. Methods: We undertook an open-label phase III study with recruitment between March 1, 2004, and Feb 17, 2006, at 149 centres in 24 countries. 1466 patients with pretreated (≥one platinum-based regimen) advanced non-small-cell lung cancer were randomly assigned with dynamic balancing to receive gefitinib (250 mg per day orally; n=733) or docetaxel (75 mg/m2 intravenously in 1-h infusion every 3 weeks; n=733). The primary objective was to compare overall survival between the groups with co-primary analyses to assess non-inferiority in the overall per-protocol population and superiority in patients with high epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-gene-copy number in the intention-to-treat population. This study is registered with, number NCT00076388. Findings: 1433 patients were analysed per protocol (723 in gefitinib group and 710 in docetaxel group). Non-inferiority of gefitinib compared with docetaxel was confirmed for overall survival (593 vs 576 events; hazard ratio [HR] 1·020, 96% CI 0·905-1·150, meeting the predefined non-inferiority criterion; median survival 7·6 vs 8·0 months). Superiority of gefitinib in patients with high EGFR-gene-copy number (85 vs 89 patients) was not proven (72 vs 71 events; HR 1·09, 95% CI 0·78-1·51; p=0·62; median survival 8·4 vs 7·5 months). In the gefitinib group, the most common adverse events were rash or acne (360 [49%] vs 73 [10%]) and diarrhoea (255 [35%] vs 177 [25%]); whereas in the docetaxel group, neutropenia (35 [5%] vs 514 [74%]), asthenic disorders (182 [25%] vs 334 [47%]), and alopecia (23 [3%] vs 254 [36%]) were most common. Interpretation: INTEREST established non-inferior survival of gefitinib compared with docetaxel, suggesting that gefitinib is a valid treatment for pretreated patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. Funding: AstraZeneca.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1809-1818
Number of pages10
JournalThe Lancet
Issue number9652
StatePublished - 2008


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