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Lung Cancer treatment details. Biologic therapy. Chemotherapy. Hospital Grosshansdorf, Grosshansdorf, Germany

Survival: 11.0 months
Toxicity Grade: 5
Treatments: Biologic therapy
Country: Germany
City/State/Province: Grosshansdorf
Hospital: Hospital Grosshansdorf
Journal: Link
Date: 4/2007

Patients: This phase III study enrolled 1,172 patients with advanced, unresectable, recurrent or metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer. Approximately 25% were women and 75% were men. The age range was between 26-84 years old

Treatment: The patients were divided into two groups. Both groups received the chemotherapy drugs cisplatin and gemcitabine. In addition, one group received the biological therapy erlotinib, and the other had chemotherapy only.

Toxicity: Nine adverse events leading to death occurred, eight in the group receiving erlotinib and one in the group receiving chemotherapy only. These deaths were due to kidney failure, neutropenia/febrile neutropenia/neutropenic sepsis, dyspnea, cardiovascular disorder and myocardial infarction. Two patients in the chemotherapy only group developed interstitial lung disease. One patient receiving erlotinib died from pneumonia. Anemia, rash, and diarrhea were more common in the patients receiving erlotinib.

Results: The median overall survival was 43 weeks for the group receiving erlotinib and chemotherapy, and was 44.1 weeks for those getting only chemotherapy. In a small group of patients that had never smoked, those receiving erlotinib had a longer median overall survival, but no other subgroup of patients had a longer survival with the addition of erlotinib to the chemotherapy regimen.

Support: Hoffman La-Roche supported this research. They make erlotinib and market it as Tarceva. Some study authors are employed by Hoffman La-Roche, and/or were involved in leadership, consultant, honoraria, received research funds by Hoffman La-Roche, AstraZeneca, Eli-Lilly, and Biogenerix.

Correspondence: Dr. Ulrich Gatzemeier

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