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New international survey of lung cancer oncologists highlights underutilization of personalized treatments

INGELHEIM, Germany. - Friday, April 17th 2015 [ME NewsWire]

International survey assessed EGFR mutation testing rates and treatment practices for advanced non-small cell lung cancer patients

• For nearly one in four lung cancer patients tested for EGFR mutations, results were not available in time to guide treatment decisions

• Half of all oncologists surveyed stated that their treatment decision was not guided by a patient’s EGFR mutation subtype

(BUSINESS WIRE) For media outside the US, the UK and Canada only

Results from a new global survey of lung cancer oncologists have shown that despite 81% of newly diagnosed advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients being tested for EGFR mutations, a significant number of those tested were not receiving personalized treatments for their cancer type and mutation subtype. The survey results from 562 oncologists from 10 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Spain, Taiwan, UK and USA) were presented today as a late-breaking abstract, in the ESMO-IASLC Best Abstracts session, at the 2015 European Lung Cancer Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. The survey was sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim.

The survey highlighted that almost one in four advanced NSCLC patients were started on first-line treatment before their mutation test results were available, with significant differences between regions (range: 12% in Asia to 30% in Europe). The main reasons for not testing all patients, aside from tumour histology, were insufficient tissue/uncertainty of sufficient tissue, poor patient fitness, and test results taking too long to come back. In addition, half of all oncologists (51%) stated that their treatment decision was not affected by EGFR mutation subtype. Again, there was significant variation between regions (range: 28% in Asia to 60% in Europe).

International guidelines recommend that EGFR mutation testing should be performed at diagnosis of advanced NSCLC and results should guide treatment decisions to ensure all patients receive targeted therapy according to their specific cancer type. This is important because patients who have advanced EGFR-mutated lung cancer can benefit from targeted treatments which can improve quality of life and progression-free survival compared to standard chemotherapy. Furthermore, recent data have shown that a specific targeted therapy extended overall survival of patients with the most common type of mutation (Del19) when compared to chemotherapy.

“On average, EGFR mutation testing rates are relatively high across the globe; however, we should be aiming for every suitable NSCLC patient to be tested, and every patient receiving an appropriate treatment for their type of lung cancer. These new survey results highlight that there is still work to be done in emphasizing the importance of obtaining EGFR test results prior to the initiation of treatment, and using this vital information to select optimum therapy,” commented Dr James Spicer, of King's College London, at Guy's Hospital, London, UK.

NSCLC is the most common form of lung cancer. Specific changes in the tumour, known as EGFR mutations, are found in 10-15% of white and 40% of East Asian patients with NSCLC. There are different types of EGFR mutations, the most common being exon 19 deletions (Del19) and the exon 21 (L858R) substitution.

Dr Matthew Peters, chair of the Global Lung Cancer Coalition said, “This research clearly shows there are patterns of care in the evaluation and initial treatment of lung cancer which do not always include EGFR testing. Patients should expect that lung cancer clinicians and pathology providers are working together to rapidly establish the facts around a lung cancer diagnosis, in accordance with international guidelines, so that appropriate treatment can be applied with the goal of optimal outcomes.”

Professor Gerd Stehle, Vice President Medicine Therapeutic Area Oncology, Boehringer Ingelheim commented: “Boehringer Ingelheim’s commitment to lung cancer research goes beyond clinical trials. This global survey is part of our continuous efforts to better understand what really happens in clinical practice so we can use these insights to better support the needs of patients with lung cancer and those who care for them.”

For more information please visit:


Boehringer Ingelheim

Corporate Communications

Media + PR

Susanne Granold

Phone: +49 6132 – 77 93319

Fax: +49 6132 – 77 6601



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