Friday, August 03, 2012

Tarceva Battles Lung Cancer in Some

(HealthDay News) -- New research finds that the targeted cancer drug Tarceva nearly triples the amount of time lung cancer patients survive without a recurrence and has fewer side effects than standard chemotherapy.

The authors of a study appearing in the July 21 online issue of The Lancet Oncology recommend using Tarceva (erlotinib) as a first-line treatment for patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer who have the particular gene mutation this drug targets.

Other experts agreed.

"This is a very important study [because] it shows that we can identify patients with a specific genetic marker and direct specific treatment toward them," said Dr. Jay Brooks, chairman of hematology/oncology at Ochsner Health System in Baton Rouge, La.

"In the past, if a patient needed system-wide treatment, it would be chemotherapy. However, now it's clear that we need to check for the EGFR mutation, and if they have that mutation it is likely that it is better for that patient as their initial treatment to get erlotinib instead of chemotherapy," added Dr. Alan Astrow, director of hematology and medical oncology at Maimonides Medical Center in New York City. "It's an important result." Read more…

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