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Traditional Chinese Medicine Prolongs Progression-Free Survival and Enhances Therapeutic Effects in Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor (EGFR-TKI)Treated Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) Patients Harboring EGFR Mutations

Mo Tang, Shumei Wang, Bin Zhao, Wei Wang, Yuxi Zhu, Lingjing Hu, Xianquan Zhang, Shaoquan Xiong

School of Traditional Chinese Medicine University, Chongqing, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2019; 25:8430-8437

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.917251

Available online:

Published: 2019-11-09

BACKGROUND: Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer-associated deaths worldwide. This study aimed to investigate the efficacy and safety of Traditional Chinese Medicine combining EGFR-TKIs in treatment of NSCLC patients harboring EGFR mutations.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: This study involved 153 advanced-stage NSCLC patients harboring EGFR mutations. Patients were divided into a Control group (administered EGFR-TKI, n=61) and an Experimental group (administered Traditional Chinese Medicine combining EGFR and TKI, n=92). Progression-free survival (PFS) was evaluated for exon 19 deletion and/or 21 deletion patients. Disease control rate (DCR) was assessed to observe therapeutic effects. Adverse effects, including rashes, diarrhea, ALT/AST increase, dental ulcers, and onychia lateralis, were also evaluated.
RESULTS: TCM combining EGFR-TKI (90.11%) demonstrated no DCR improvement compared to single EGFR-TKI (83.33%) (p>0.05). Median PFS (mPFS) of TCM combining EGFR-TKI (13 months) was significantly longer compared to that in the single EGFR-TKI group (8.8 months) (p=0.001). For 19DEL mutant NSCLC, the mPFS (11 months) in TCM combining EGFR-TKI was significantly longer compared to single EGFR-TKI (8.5 months) (p=0.007). The mPFS of L858 mutant NSCLC patients in EGFR-TKI combining CTM (14 months) was significantly longer compared to single EGFR-TKI (9.5 months) (p=0.015). TCM combining EGFR-TKI was more inclined to prolong mPFS of NSCLC with exon 21 deletion. TCM combining EGFR-TKI illustrated no additional adverse effects in NSCLC patients (p=0.956).
CONCLUSIONS: Application of Traditional Chinese Medicine prolonged progression-free survival and enhanced therapeutic effect in NSCLC patients harboring EGFR mutations receiving EGFR-TKI treatment. Meanwhile, adjunctive Chinese medicine combining EGFR-TKI in NSCLC with EGFR mutations caused no adverse effects.

Keywords: Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung, genetic therapy, Lung Neoplasms, Medicine, Chinese Traditional