Observation of hepatotoxicity during long-term gefitinib administration in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer

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To observe drug-induced hepatotoxicity by long-term gefitinib administration in the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer. The data of 101 patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer, for which gefitinib had been used orally for 3 months or longer, were retrospectively analyzed. The median duration of gefitinib administration was 14 months (3–60 months). Forty patients (39.6%) developed abnormal hepatic function, among whom 30 patients (29.7%) had grade I hepatotoxicity, six patients (5.9%) had grade II, and four patients (4.0%) had grade III, respectively. The median time from starting gefitinib oral therapy to developing liver dysfunction was 4 months (1–23 months) for the entire cohort. The incidence of hepatotoxicity in the group with a duration of more than 14 months was much higher than that in the group with a duration of less than 14 months (52.0 vs. 27.5%, P=0.012). In thirty-two patients (32/40), abnormal liver function resolved with hepatoprotective treatment, whereas eight patients (8/40) had persistent grade I hepatotoxicity until the last follow-up. Our study showed that long-term gefitinib-induced hepatotoxicity was a common adverse event, especially for the cohort with a duration of longer than 14 months. In most patients with hepatotoxicity, normal liver function was restored and discontinuation of gefitinib was not necessary.

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