Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New treatment extends survival for patients with advanced lung cancer

14.07.2005


Erlotinib increases survival by several months



An international clinical trial led by Canadian researchers has demonstrated that a drug called erlotinib increases survival in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer who typically have no other treatment options.

The trial, funded by the Canadian Cancer Society and published in tomorrow’s issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, involved 731 patients at centres in North and South America, Europe, Israel, New Zealand, Asia and South Africa. The patients had already received at least one or two regimens of chemotherapy and were randomly assigned to one of two groups: 488 patients received erlotinib and 243 received a placebo. The researchers found that treatment with erlotinib resulted in longer survival compared to the placebo. Patients who received erlotinib survived an average of 6.7 months, while patients on placebo survived an average of 4.7 months – a 42.5 per cent improvement. Of the patients receiving erlotinib, 31 per cent were alive after one year, compared to only 22 per cent of patients receiving placebo. Unlike many chemotherapies, erlotinib was generally well-tolerated and caused only minor side effects.


"This drug offers a new treatment option to patients at a time in their disease when they have no other options," says Dr. Frances Shepherd, the study’s principal investigator, holder of the Scott Taylor Chair in Lung Cancer Research and medical oncologist at Princess Margaret Hospital, and professor of medicine at the University of Toronto. "Not only does erlotinib help them live longer, but it also improves their physical function, their quality of life, and it improves their symptoms of cough, shortness of breath and pain."

Dr. Barbara Whylie, CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society, says, "This is a welcome advance in the treatment of lung cancer, the most common cause of cancer death in Canada. Canadian researchers continue to be at the forefront of new advances in the fight against this disease and we are committed to continuing to support their outstanding efforts."

Also known commercially as Tarceva, erlotinib slows down tumour growth by interfering with a specific cellular pathway that promotes cell division. The drug interferes with epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR), which receive an ongoing signal for the cells to divide, thus driving the cancer’s growth. Erlotinib specifically targets EGFR to prevent the tumour from growing. This is the first drug of the EGFR inhibitors family demonstrated to improve survival. In November 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved erlotinib for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer who had received at least one regimen of chemotherapy.

In a companion study, also published in tomorrow’s issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, scientists led by Dr. Ming Tsao and Dr. Frances Shepherd at Princess Margaret Hospital assessed tumour biopsies from some of the patients on the trial. They looked for gene mutations, gene copy number, and the expression of the epidermal growth factor receptor protein in the cancer cells. Their findings suggest that molecular testing is not necessary to identify appropriate patients for treatment with erlotinib.

Lung cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer worldwide, and it is the leading cause of death from cancer in North America. Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for almost 80 per cent of all cases. An estimated 22,200 Canadians will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year, and 19,000 will die of the disease.

The lung cancer clinical trial was coordinated by the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group, which is funded by the Canadian Cancer Society and based at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. It was also funded by OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Princess Margaret Hospital and its research arm, Ontario Cancer Institute, have achieved an international reputation as global leaders in the fight against cancer. Princess Margaret Hospital is a member of the University Health Network, which also includes Toronto General Hospital and Toronto Western Hospital. All three are teaching hospitals affiliated with the University of Toronto.

Jennifer Kohm | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cancer.ca
http://www.utoronto.ca

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht 'Icebreaker' protein opens genome for t cell development, Penn researchers find
21.02.2018 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

nachricht Similarities found in cancer initiation in kidney, liver, stomach, pancreas
21.02.2018 | Washington University School of Medicine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers invent tiny, light-powered wires to modulate brain's electrical signals

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

The “Holy Grail” of peptide chemistry: Making peptide active agents available orally

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected

21.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>