Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Adding cetuximab to chemotherapy reduces advanced lung cancer death risk by 13 percent

23.09.2009
Patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer who are given cetuximab (Erbitux) in addition to chemotherapy are 13% less likely to die than those who receive chemotherapy alone, regardless of which chemotherapy drug cocktail is used, new research finds. They also experience slower disease progression and an increased chance of tumour shrinkage.

While a large study last year found that patients lived five weeks longer when the targeted drug cetuximab was added to a particular chemotherapy combination, it has not been clear whether it matters which chemotherapy combination the drug is added to, how its addition affects disease progression and what the exact magnitude of the survival benefit is.

Researchers combined the data from four trials that investigated the addition of cetuximab to various different platinum-based chemotherapy combinations in first-line treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer. The findings of the meta-analysis, which included a total of 2,018 patients, were presented in Berlin today (Tuesday 22 September) at Europe's largest cancer congress, ECCO 15 – ESMO 34 [1].

Meta-analyses, which integrate the results of several studies, are important for corroborating the findings of key studies and give a more accurate estimate of a drug's true effects.

"We found that patients who got cetuximab had a 13% lower chance of dying within the three years of follow-up compared with those who got chemotherapy alone," said Professor Jean-Louis Pujol, chair of thoracic oncology at Montpelier Academic Hospital and professor of medicine at Montpelier University in France. "For lung cancer, considering that this disease is very resistant to treatment and that the prognosis is very poor, an improvement of that magnitude is meaningful. It's about the same as what you get from giving chemotherapy after surgery and that's accepted as standard treatment."

The median survival, a more crude measure of the drug's effect on death, was 9.4 months in the chemotherapy alone group and 10.3 months in the chemotherapy plus cetuximab group.

The meta-analysis also uncovered a 10% improvement in progression free survival, which measures the length of time a patient survives before the cancer gets worse. None of the individual studies were powerful enough to identify any effect on this outcome on their own, as it is difficult to observe this in lung cancer because the disease progresses so quickly.

The study also found that patients who received the addition of cetuximab were 48% more likely to experience tumour shrinkage.

"Fewer than 30% of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer respond to chemotherapy, so even though adding cetuximab increases the chance by another 48%, pushing the response rate up to about 45%, this shows than non-small lung cancer remains a disease that is very resistant to treatment," Prof Pujol said.

The benefits for all these outcomes were seen across all subtypes of the disease.

Lung cancer is particularly difficult to treat and is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide, killing an estimated 1.31 million people a year. Patients with advanced disease have few treatment options and about 70% of them die within one year of diagnosis. Fewer than two percent survive five years. Platinum-based chemotherapy is the standard treatment.

Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common form of lung cancer and most patients have tumours that over-express the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Cetuximab belongs to a new class of anti-cancer drugs known as monoclonal antibodies and works by blocking the EGF receptor to interrupt uncontrolled cell division.

Studies of other EGFR blockers have not shown any benefit when they are combined with chemotherapy in first-line treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer, although they have been shown to help in second-line treatment. One explanation for why cetuximab has shown benefit in this case while the other drugs targeting the receptor haven't could be because it blocks the receptor in a different location. The drug is currently used to treat metastatic colorectal cancer and head and neck cancer. Frequent side effects include an acne-like rash.

"We now have enough evidence to recommend cetuximab for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer and we have confirmation that it doesn't matter what kind of chemotherapy it is used with," Prof Pujol said. "What we now need to investigate is whether this drug could also help at early stages of the disease."

The study was funded by a grant from Merck KGaA, which makes cetuximab

Emma Ross | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ecco-org.eu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersensitive through quantum entanglement

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders

28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>