Gefitinib for Incurable, Recurrent or Metastatic Squamous Cell Carcinoma

A recent study looked at the efficacy of gefitinib in patients with cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) whose cancer was not amenable to curative therapy including surgery or radiation.

The epidermal growth factor receptor plays a key role in the carcinogenesis of SCC. However, there are limited data on the efficacy of epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors in incurable, recurrent and/or metastatic SCC.

In a single-arm phase 2 study, 40 patients were treated with gefitinib until disease progression or intolerable toxicities occurred.

The overall response rate was 16 per cent. An additional 13 patients (35 per cent) had stable disease after eight weeks. The average durations of response was 31.4 months and the average duration of progression-free survival was 3.8 months.

Side effects were consistent with previous studies on gefitinib in other tumour types.

The study concluded that gefitinib demonstrated modest activity in incurable cutaneous SCC, with a favourable adverse event profile.

Read more about new skin cancer therapies.


William N. et al. (December 2017.) Gefitinib for patients with incurable cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma: A single-arm phase II clinical trial. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Volume 77. Issue 6. Pages 1110 – 1113.e2. DOI:

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