Safety and efficacy of an inhaled epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor (BIBW 2948 BS) in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Academic Article


  • Rationale: Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) activation is implicated in mucin hypersecretion in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Objectives: To investigate the safety and efficacy of an inhaled EGFR antagonist (BIBW 2948) in COPD. Methods: Multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 4 weeks of treatment with two doses of BIBW 2948 (15 and 30 mg twice a day) on safety and mucin-related outcomes in 48 patients with COPD. The effect of BIBW 2948 on EGFR activation in airway epithelial cells was assessed using an ex vivo assay. Efficacy measures included the volume of mucin in the airway epithelium(Vs mu,bala) in bronchial biopsies and the expression of mucin genes in bronchial brushings. Measurements and Main Results: Inhaled BIBW 2948 induced a dose-related inhibition ofEGFRinternalization (reflecting decreasedEGFR activation) in epithelial cells from treated subjects. However, BIBW 2948 was associated with a dose-related increase in adverse events, including reversible liver enzyme elevation (n = 2), and reduction in FEV1. The changes in mucin stores and mucin gene expression were not significantly different in the pooled BIBW 2948 group versus placebo (volume of mucin per surface area of basal lamina = 0.22 ± 7.11 vs. 0.47 ± 8.06 μm3/μm 2; P = 0.93). However, in the 30 mg twice a day group, the reduction in epithelial mucin stores was greatest in subjects with the greatest degree of EGFR inhibition (Pearson r = 0.98; 95% confidence interval, 0.71-0.99). Conclusions: Four-week treatment with BIBW 2948 did not significantly decrease epithelial mucin stores and was poorly tolerated in patients with COPD. Ex vivo analyses suggest that higher doses may be more effective at both EGFR inhibition and decreases in mucin stores but that adverse events should be expected. Clinical trial registered with (NCT00423137).
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    Author List

  • Woodruff PG; Wolff M; Hohlfeld JM; Krug N; Dransfield MT; Sutherland ER; Criner GJ; Kim V; Prasse A; Nivens MC
  • Start Page

  • 438
  • End Page

  • 445
  • Volume

  • 181
  • Issue

  • 5