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Novel 4-drug combination proves safe for lung cancer treatment
Date:11/13/2008

CHICAGO - The four drug-combination of carboplatin and paclitaxel, with the targeted therapies bevacizumab (Avastin) and cetuximab (Erbitux), is safe and may improve survival for patients with advanced lung cancer, according to a cooperative group study led by The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Presented today on the press program of the 2008 Chicago Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology, sponsored by ASTRO, ASCO, IASLC and the University of Chicago, the study is the first to investigate in lung cancer a four-drug regimen of two standard chemotherapies and targeted therapies.

The Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) Phase II study was led by Edward S. Kim, M.D., assistant professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Thoracic Head and Neck Medical Oncology. Until now, the SWOG standard regimen for lung cancer has been carboplatin, paclitaxel and Erbitux, explained Kim; with the addition of Avastin, this study looked to increase efficacy without compromising safety.

"We could not conduct a study with four chemotherapeutic agents in patients due to toxicity concerns," said Kim, the study's principal investigator. "The rationale behind the study was the finding that Avastin enhances the efficacy of existing therapy, thereby possibly improving the carboplatin-paclitaxel-Erbitux regimen."

Data in lung cancer has also suggested there's a "synergistic effect" of pairing the epidermal growth factor (EGFR) inhibitor compounds with the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitor, explained Kim.

Interestingly, explained Kim, the SWOG's study came at a crossroads for lung cancer - soon after a study was presented showing the benefits of adding Avastin to standard chemotherapy, and prior to a study showing a modest survival benefit when Erbitux is combined with chemotherapy.

Between August 2006 and September 2007, the large Phase II study enrolled 110 Stage IIIB or IV non-small cell lung c
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Contact: Laura Sussman
lsussman@mdanderson.org
713-745-2457
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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