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Study examines drug regimen for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer among older patients
Date:4/17/2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. Analysis of a drug regimen approved by the F.D.A. in 2006 for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (bevacizumab added to the standard chemotherapy regimen carboplatin and paclitaxel) finds Medicare insured patients age 65 years and older who received this regimen did not have improved survival compared to patients who received the standard treatment of carboplatin and paclitaxel alone, according to a study in the April 18 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on comparative effectiveness research.

Deborah Schrag, M.D., M.P.H., of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, presented the findings of the study at a JAMA media briefing at the National Press Club.

"A previous randomized trial demonstrated that adding bevacizumab to carboplatin and paclitaxel improved survival in advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, longer survival was not observed in the subgroup of patients aged 65 years or older, " according to background information in the article. "Notwithstanding the uncertainty about benefits in the population aged 65 years or older, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has covered bevacizumab therapy for its enrollees subsequent to Food and Drug Administration [FDA] approval. Little is known about how clinicians have interpreted efficacy studies to formulate treatment recommendations, and given that approximately two-thirds of patients with lung cancer receive their diagnoses at age 65 years or older, establishing the survival advantage of bevacizumab in the Medicare population is a priority for informed decision making."

Dr. Schrag and colleagues conducted a study to examine whether adding bevacizumab to carboplatin-paclitaxel was associated with improved survival in the Medicare population. The researchers used analytic strategies to address confounding (factors that can influence outcomes) and selection bias caused by the lack of treatment randomization in observational
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Contact: Anne Doerr
anne_doerr@dfci.harvard.edu
617-632-5665
JAMA and Archives Journals
Source:Eurekalert

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