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About Lung Cancer | Diagnosis | Biomarkers

EGFR

EGFR stands for Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor. EGFR is a protein expressed on the surface of cells. It is most commonly found on cells on the skin, although it can be found elsewhere in the body. An EGFR mutation (or biomarker) can negatively affect how the EGFR protein functions.

In this EGFR-positive lung cancer video you will learn the answer to these questions:

What does EGFR mean?

What does having an EGFR biomarker present mean for lung cancer patients?

How common is EGFR-positive lung cancer?

What does all this mean for treatments for EGFR-positive lung cancer patients?

Testing for the EGFR Mutation

Comprehensive biomarker testing can determine whether an EGFR lung cancer mutation or another lung cancer mutation is present. If you receive a lung cancer diagnosis, the very first thing you should do is make sure your doctors have ordered comprehensive biomarker testing done on your lung cancer tumor. In addition to having this key testing done, you should have the results before starting any treatment, including chemo and/or immunotherapy.

The comprehensive biomarker testing will involve a biopsy of your lung cancer. This biopsy removes tissue. The tissue is then tested for its genetic makeup, or biomarkers. In most cases, biomarker testing can use the same tissue that was obtained during the original biopsy.  (The biopsy which was used to diagnosing the lung cancer.)

Remember These Important Points to Biomarker Testing

blood biopsy is especially effective in detecting the presence of EGFR NSCLC. This biopsy can be performed before comprehensive biomarker testing. If the blood biopsy shows positive for an EGFR mutation, then the patient can be started on an EGFR inhibitor.

But, in all other instances, it is important to have comprehensive biomarker testing.

NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers and other academic centers are excellent choices for and have experience in comprehensive biomarker testing. You can also have the testing done by a commercial lab recommended by your physician.

Could My Kids Inherit My EGFR-Positive Lung Cancer?

In this EGFR-positive lung cancer video you will learn the answer to these questions:

  • What are the treatment options for EGFR-Positive lung cancer?
  • Could my kids inherit it?
  • What about immunotherapy?

Treatment Options

Once the biomarker testing is complete, and EGFR-positive lung cancer determined, there are many treatment options available. If your lung cancer hasn’t yet spread and it’s in an early stage, you might be a candidate for surgery to have the lung cancer completely removed. If not, the lung cancer can be treated with a targeted therapy, which is commonly a pill, taken by mouth.

Treatment Options

  • Targeted Therapies

    Many EGFR-positive treatments are available that have proven to be effective for many patients. These targeted therapies have been approved by the FDA for EGFR-positive lung cancer. Drugs called EGFR inhibitors can block (or target) the signal from EGFR that tells the cells to grow.

  • Immunotherapy

    People with EGFR mutation-positive lung cancer often have immune systems that are working well. So immunotherapy isn’t as helpful as it is for other lung cancers where the immune system has been compromised. Research is ongoing in immunotherapy for EGFR-positive lung cancer patients, and these studies show some promising results.

  • Combination Therapy

    Although new, it is showing promise as an effective treatment for adult non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. One type combines an immunotherapy drug with specific chemotherapy drugs. The results are encouraging. People who would benefit from combination therapy are: patients who have not had treatment for their metastatic disease before and patients with an EGFR mutation or ALK-positive lung cancer who have failed on a previous targeted therapy.

FDA-Approved EGFR-Positive Lung Cancer Treatments

Types
  • Ramucirumab (Cyramza)

    Non-small cell lung cancer that has metastasized. It is used:
    With erlotinib hydrochloride as first-line therapy in patients whose disease has certain mutations in the EGFR gene. With docetaxel in patients whose disease has gotten worse during or after treatment with platinum chemotherapy. For patients whose disease has a mutation in the EGFR gene or ALK gene, ramucirumab is used if their disease has gotten worse after treatment with FDA-approved therapy for these mutations.

    Approved for: NSCLC

    Biomarkers: ALK, EGFR

    FDA Approval Date: 06/13/2024

    Used in: Targeted Therapy

  • Afatinib (Gilotrif)

    Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that has metastasized (spread to other parts of the body). It is used:
    As first-line treatment in patients with tumors that have certain EGFR gene mutations.

    Approved for: NSCLC

    Biomarkers: EGFR

    FDA Approval Date: 06/13/2024

    Used in: Targeted Therapy

  • Dacomitinib (Vizimpro)

    Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that has metastasized (spread to other parts of the body). It is used as first-line treatment in patients whose tumors have certain EGFR gene mutations.

    Approved for: NSCLC

    Biomarkers: EGFR

    FDA Approval Date: 06/13/2024

    Used in: Targeted Therapy

  • Gefitinib (Iressa)

    Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that has metastasized (spread to other parts of the body). It is used as first-line treatment in patients whose tumors have certain EGFR gene mutations.

    Approved for: NSCLC

    Biomarkers: EGFR

    FDA Approval Date: 06/13/2024

    Used in: Targeted Therapy

  • Erlotinib (Tarceva)

    Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that is metastatic and has certain EGFR gene mutations. It may be used: As first-line therapy. In patients on maintenance therapy or whose disease has gotten worse after treatment with chemotherapy.

    Approved for: NSCLC

    Biomarkers: EGFR

    FDA Approval Date: 06/13/2024

    Used in: Targeted Therapy

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are sometimes great options for patients with EGFR-positive lung cancer. If you are accepted into a clinical trial, you will be assigned to a treatment group. You will either receive an investigational drug or you will be randomized to receive the investigational drug or the best standard of care. The specifics of the clinical trial depend on whether you are in a first-in-human trial or a later phase trial. (Best standard of care is the best treatment that physicians are offering patients with that cancer.)

In addition, the care that is included in the clinical trial will be covered financially by the trial sponsor, and you may receive a new treatment that might become a best option for you. There may also be additional expenses that might not be covered by the trial sponsor, so please carefully read the Informed Consent agreement. Discuss any concerns with a trial coordinator prior to making your decision.

Antidote Match™ connects people with medical research studies, in the fastest and easiest way possible. All you need to do is answer a few questions, and they will find the right trials for you. You gain access to the latest medical developments and world-class care.

ClinicalTrials.gov is a database of privately and publicly funded clinical studies conducted around the world.