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EGFR-Positive Lung Cancer Diagnosis and Patient Quality of Life – Cancer Therapy Advisor

Between 10% and 35% of adenocarcinoma diagnoses are linked to a mutation in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), but there is little research as to how EGFR-positive lung cancer affects a patient’s quality of life. Research presented at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) 2019 North America Conference on Lung Cancer (NACLC 2019) in Chicago, Illinois, reported on how the diagnosis impacts quality-of-life measures including hospitalization, mental health, and access to cancer-managing therapies.1 In particular, their findings revealed that cost of therapy was a major concern among a majority (69%) of respondents in the survey.

Jill Feldman, a lung cancer patient and advocate with the LUNGevity Foundation in Chicago, Illinois, and colleagues analyzed survey data from the patient-founded PRIORITY study, which looks at unmet needs in patients with EGFR-positive lung cancer. The analysis included 280 patients and, of these, about 63% had been hospitalized due to a procedure, symptom, or side effect related to lung cancer or treatment. Diarrhea and nausea were found to be the most common severe side effects that led to increased hospitalizations. Approximately 25% of survey respondents were diagnosed with depression by a health care provider. Half of those patients were diagnosed after their lung cancer diagnosis, however only 35% of those diagnosed with depression attended a lung cancer support group. 

“[A] diagnosis of EGFR-positive lung cancer can significantly impair the quality of life of patients, as measured by healthcare utilization and psychosocial burden of the disease,” the authors wrote. “Management of EGFR-positive lung cancer should encompass strategies that address both physical and mental health components of the illness as well as issues related to drug access.”

Read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor‘s coverage of the IASLC NACLC 2019 meeting by visiting the conference page.


  1. Basu Roy U, Elkins I, Feldman J, et al. Impact of an EGFR-lung cancer diagnosis on quality of life of patients: learnings from project PRIORITY. Presented at: International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) 2019 North America Conference on Lung Cancer (NACLC 2019); October 10-12, 2019: Chicago, Illinois. Abstract OA03.06

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