Symptom and Quality of Life Improvement in LUX-Lung 8, an Open-Label Phase III Study of Second-Line Afatinib Versus Erlotinib in Patients With Advanced Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Lung After First-Line Platinum-Based Chemotherapy

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In the phase III LUX-Lung 8 trial, afatinib significantly improved progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) versus erlotinib in patients with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the lung progressing during or after platinum-based chemotherapy. Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) and health-related quality of life (QoL) in these patients are presented.

Patients and Methods

Patients (n = 795) were randomized 1:1 to oral afatinib (40 mg/d) or erlotinib (150 mg/d). PROs were collected (baseline, every 28 days until progression, 28 days after discontinuation) using the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer QoL questionnaire and lung cancer-specific module. The percentage of patients improved during therapy, time to deterioration (TTD), and changes over time were analyzed for prespecified lung cancer-related symptoms and global health status (GHS)/QoL.


Questionnaire compliance was 77.3% to 99.0% and 68.7% to 99.0% with afatinib and erlotinib, respectively. Significantly more patients who received afatinib versus erlotinib experienced improved scores for GHS/QoL (36% vs. 28%; P = .041) and cough (43% vs. 35%; P = .029). Afatinib significantly delayed TTD in dyspnea (P = .008) versus erlotinib, but not cough (P = .256) or pain (P = .869). Changes in mean scores favored afatinib for cough (P = .0022), dyspnea (P = .0007), pain (P = .0224), GHS/QoL (P = .0320), and all functional scales. Differences in adverse events between afatinib and erlotinib, specifically diarrhea, did not affect GHS/QoL.


In patients with SCC of the lung, second-line afatinib was associated with improved prespecified disease-related symptoms and GHS/QoL versus erlotinib, complementing PFS and OS benefits with afatinib.


The effect of treatment on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is an important consideration for patients. In the LUX-Lung 8 trial, second-line afatinib improved survival outcomes versus erlotinib in patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the lung. In this report, afatinib was also associated with improvements in disease-related symptoms and HRQoL versus erlotinib, contributing to the overall clinical benefit of afatinib.

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