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Erlotinib improves survival in stage III non-small cell lung cancer

Reuters Health • The Doctor's Channel Daily Newscast

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Both progression-free and overall survival are extended in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer treated with erlotinib following standard chemotherapy, according to phase III clinical trial results reported this week.

Erlotinib (Tarceva), which targets epidermal growth factor receptors, is also effective as maintenance therapy following concurrent chemoradiotherapy, investigators also announced in another presentation at the 13th World Conference on Lung Cancer in San Francisco.

As part of the multinational SATURN study, Dr. Federico Cappuzzo, from Instituto Clinico Humanitas in Milan, Italy, and his team tested erlotinib as first-line therapy following non-progression with chemotherapy. Currently, erlotinib is indicated only as a second- or third-line agent.

Of 1949 patients who were enrolled, 889 did not have progressive disease and were therefore randomly assigned to erlotinib (150 mg/d, n = 438) or to placebo (n = 451), Dr. Cappuzzo