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Saturn Trial Erlotinib

Saturn Trial Erlotinib


First-line chemotherapy for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is usually limited to four to six cycles. Maintenance therapy can delay progression and prolong survival. The oral epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine-kinase inhibitor erlotinib has proven efficacy and tolerability in second-line NSCLC. We designed the phase 3, placebo-controlled Sequential Tarceva in Unresectable NSCLC (SATURN; BO18192) study to assess use of erlotinib as maintenance therapy in patients with non-progressive disease following first-line platinum-doublet chemotherapy.


Maintenance therapy with erlotinib for patients with NSCLC is well tolerated and significantly prolongs PFS compared with placebo. First-line maintenance with erlotinib could be considered in patients who do not progress after four cycles of chemotherapy.


the value of maintenance erlotinib in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer. ... A subset of patients whose tumors had EGF receptor mutations had a higher magnitude of benefit from maintenance treatment. Therefore, maintenance erlotinib should be considered in the treatment of patients with NSCLC.


Erlotinib is a type of cancer treatment drug called a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI). It works by blocking particular proteins on cancer cells that encourage the cancer to grow.

Can erlotinib cure lung cancer?

Exon 19 deletion mutations of epidermal growth factor receptor are associated with prolonged survival in non-small cell lung cancer patients treated with gefitinib or erlotinib.

When should I take erlotinib?

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Take erlotinib on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating. Do not crush an erlotinib tablet. The medicine from a crushed or broken pill can be dangerous if it gets on your skin.

Side Effect

  • black stools,
  • vomit that looks like coffee grounds,
  • easy bleeding or bruising,
  • stomach or abdominal pain,
  • yellowing eyes or skin,
  • dark urine,
  • unusual fatigue,
  • signs of infection (e.g., fever, chills, persistent sore throat),
  • eye pain, or
  • vision changes.


Patients with advanced NSCLC and SD following first-line platinum-based doublet chemotherapy derive a significant OS benefit from maintenance erlotinib therapy.

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