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Lung Cancer treatment details. Biologic therapy. MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, United States

Survival: 9.3 months
Toxicity Grade: 5
Treatments: Biologic therapy
Country: United States
City/State/Province: Houston, TX
Hospital: MD Anderson Cancer Center
Journal: Link
Date: 5/2011

This study involved patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who were divided into 2 separate treatment groups. Group A consisted of 317 patients with a median age of 65 years, 54% of whom were male. Group B had 319 patients with a median age of 64.8 years and 54% male.

Patients in group A were treated with the biologic therapy agent erlotinib, a small molecule inhibitor of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase, which is involved in cell growth and survival.

Patients in group B were treated with erlotinib and the biologic therapy agent bevacizumab.

There were 14 treatment-related deaths reported for group A, the causes of which were pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, and dyspnea (shortness of breath). Also reported was grade 3 blood clot and grade 3-4 hypertension.

For group B, there were 20 treatment-related deaths due to pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, dyspnea (shortness of breath), and bleeding. Also reported was grade 3 blood clot and grade 3-4 hypertension.

The median overall survival for groups A and B were 9.2 and 9.3 months, respectively.

This study was supported by Genentech, makers of erlotinib (brand name Tarceva) and bevacizumab (brand name Avastin).

Correspondence: Dr. Roy Herbst; email:

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