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Advanced targeted therapies effective as first-line treatment for lung cancer
Date:8/1/2009

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Erlotinib targets a protein called the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). EGFR, which helps cells divide, is found at abnormally high levels on the surface of many types of cancer cells, including many cases of NSCLC.

The study enrolled 1,949 patients, and 889 of which did not have progressive disease following four cycles of chemotherapy and were randomized to 150 mg/day of erlotinib or placebo. Patients who received erlotinib experienced significantly prolonged progression-free survival (PFS) over those on placebo a 29 to 31 percent reduction in risk of progression with erlotinib or an increase of progression-free survival time of 41 to 45 percent. The disease control rate (including patients whose tumors disappeared or reduced in size or did not get larger) was 40.8 percent with erlotinib versus 27.4 percent with placebo. The study also met a key secondary endpoint of extending overall survival in patients who received erlotinib immediately after initial chemotherapy. A statistically significant improvement in overall survival was seen in this pre-planned final analysis of the total patient population.

Further, a PFS benefit was seen with erlotinib regardless of the patient's gender, smoking history, ethnicity, or whether testing indicated the patient's tumor expressed the EGFR.

"The results of this study broaden the patient population for whom erlotinib can be effective," said Federico Cappuzzo, M.D., lead author and professor and vice director of the Department of Medical Oncology at Instituto Clinico Humanitas in Milan, Italy. "Given that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide and that NSCLC is the most common and deadly form of lung cancer, the PFS time that erlotinib can offer represents a significant advance in treatment of this disease."

Dr. Cappuzzo will present this study on Saturday, August 1 at 2:30 pm PT in Moscone West, Room 2001-2005, Level 2.

MOLECULAR MARKERS AND
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Contact: Liz Wulderk
lwulderk@spectrumscience.com
443-506-1931
International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer
Source:Eurekalert

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