Navigation Links
Erlotinib effective and with fewer side-effects after first-line treatment

The targeted cancer drug erlotinib has comparable efficacy to chemotherapy, and is better tolerated, in hard-to-treat cases where a patient's cancer has progressed quickly after treatment with first-line therapy, the results of a new phase III trial show.

Dr Tudor Ciuleanu from the Institute of Oncology Ion Chiricuta, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, reported this finding from the international TITAN study at the European Multidisciplinary Conference in Thoracic Oncology (EMCTO), 24-26 February 2011, Lugano, Switzerland.

"The TITAN study is the first trial to evaluate whether erlotinib has comparable efficacy to chemotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer patients in general," Dr Ciuleanu said.

The study included only patients whose disease had progressed under first-line chemotherapy. In the clinic, around 30-40% of patients with lung cancer will see no benefit from first-line therapy and their disease will rapidly progress.

"These patients have an extremely poor prognosis and few treatment options. An effective alternative to chemotherapy is therefore very important, since chemo-related side-effects can result in further physical deterioration in patients who are already very sick," Dr Ciuleanu said.

Historically, data have shown that erlotinib was more tolerable than chemotherapy, but many physicians had assumed that erlotinib would not be as effective in this difficult-to-treat patient population compared to chemotherapy.

The open-label study included 424 patients whose lung cancer had progressed rapidly after treatment with first-line chemotherapy. Of these, 203 were treated with erlotinib, and 221 received chemotherapy with either docetaxel or pemetrexed.

No difference in overall survival was seen between the two groups, the researchers reported. Nor was there any significant difference in progression-free survival time.

"TITAN is important because it confirms that erlotinib has comparable efficacy to chemotherapy with better tolerability, even in this population of patients with poor prognosis," Dr Ciuleanu said. "The study included a broad, unselected population, showing that patients can benefit from erlotinib regardless of their EGFR mutation status. Erlotinib therefore gives doctors an effective alternative to chemotherapy after disease progression, without chemo-related side-effects."

Serious treatment-related adverse events were seen in only 1% of patients treated with erlotinib, the researchers said, compared to 6.6% of those in the chemotherapy arm of the study.

"The likelihood of side-effects is a serious consideration for patients who are already physically unwell due to the advanced stage of their disease," Dr Ciuleanu said. "The importance of this finding is that when safety data are considered they show that the benefits associated with erlotinib can be achieved with better tolerability than chemotherapy."

Commenting on the study, which he was not involved in, Professor Jean-Paul Sculier from Institut Jules Bordet, Belgium, noted that there are currently three drugs specifically registered for second-line single-agent treatment in advanced non-small cell lung cancer, all of which have the same impact on survival: erlotinib, pemetrexed (restricted to non-squamous histologies) and docetaxel.

"Docetaxel is no longer protected by patent, meaning it is cheaper and generics are available," he noted. "A potential advantage of erlotinib is administration in a targeted way for tumors with activating EGFR mutations, however more data are needed before the drug can be recommended with a good level of evidence in that indication."


Contact: Vanessa Pavinato
European Society for Medical Oncology

Related biology news :

1. Oncogene AEG-1 strongly predicts response to erlotinib treatment in EGFR-mutant lung cancer
2. New targeted therapy adds benefit to erlotinib in some patients with advanced lung cancer
3. Erlotinib improves progression-free survival as first-line therapy in advanced lung cancer
4. NYU nursing-dental team receives grant to assess effectiveness of A1C diabetes screening technique
5. Frost & Sullivan Recognizes Cardiocom as a Technology Enabler for Superior Cost-Effective Remote Chronic Care Management
6. Baker Institute conference to examine safety, effectiveness of US offshore drilling industry
7. Early tests find nanoshell therapy effective against brain cancer
8. Immersive data collection, peer networks among key elements of effective watershed councils
9. Frost & Sullivan Recognizes Cardiocom as a Technology Enabler for Superior Cost-Effective Remote Chronic Care Management
10. Marinomeds iota-carrageenan effective against H1N1
11. Estrogen alone is effective for reducing breast cancer risk
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/10/2015)... 2015 About signature verification ... to identify and verify the identity of an ... the secure and accurate method of authentication and ... individual because each individual,s signature is highly unique. ... dynamic signature of an individual is compared and ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... MINNETONKA, Minn. , Oct. 29, 2015   ... that supports the entire spectrum of clinical research, is ... the Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) as one of ... in the "Software – Small and Growing" category. The ... and individuals who have shown superior technology innovation and ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 2015 NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" ... on the growing mobile commerce market and creator ... a leading marketplace to discover and buy innovative ... wallet on StackSocial for this holiday season.   ... "Company"), a biometric authentication company focused on the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 25, 2015 , ... Jessica Richman and Zachary Apte, founders ... initial angel funding process. Now, they are paying it forward to other microbiome ... investments in the microbiome space. In this, they join other successful entrepreneurs-turned-angels ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... The United States Golf Association (USGA) ... USGA Green Section Award. Presented annually since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes ... with turfgrass. , Clarke, of Iselin, N.J., is an extension specialist of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... DIEGO , Nov. 24, 2015 Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. ... Healthcare Conference in New York on Wednesday, ... Helen Torley , president and CEO, will provide a corporate ... New York at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT ... and investor relations, will provide a corporate overview. --> ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Worcester, Mass. (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 ... ... need to maintain healthy metabolism. But unless it is bound to proteins, copper ... Institutes of Health (NIH), researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will conduct a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: