Cetuximab (Erbitux) for Advanced NSCLC: Promising Results, But is it Ready for Prime Time?

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There has been quite a lot of discussion recently about the EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), erlotinib (Tarceva) and gefitinib (Iressa). Recently however the final results of the FLEX trial were published in The Lancet, bringing attention back to one of the antibodies against EGFR, cetuximab (Erbitux). Dr.

Serum Test Being Launched to Test for Likelihood of Benefit from Oral EGFR Inhibitors

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About 18 months ago, I wrote a post about a new technique being developed that looks at the pattern of proteins in the blood of a patient in order to determine whether a patient is likely to do well or poorly after receiving an EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor like tarceva (erlotinib) or iressa (gefitinib) for advanced NSCLC.

The Subtleties of Progressive Disease: Why Some Oncologists Continue EGFR Inhibitors (or Other Agents) after Progression

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One of the basic concepts of oncology is that you treat patients with different drugs once they've shown progression on a treatment, rather than continue that a patient has presumably become resistant to. However, there are some exceptions to this: many or most women with breast cancer continue the antibody herceptin (trastuzumab) even after progression, adding it to one chemo and then the next, and the same is often done with avastin in colon cancer and sometimes lung cancer as well.

A New Look at Maintenance Treatment after First-Line Chemotherapy in NSCLC

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With the recent publication of the Eli Lilly-sponsored phase III trial of immediate versus delayed Taxotere (docetaxel) after the completion of first-line chemotherapy in patients with advanced NSCLC (abstract of paper by Fidias and colleagues here), I think the time has come to critically evaluate this as a potentially practice-changing concept.

Tarceva Dose Escalation in Current Smokers: Could Higher Doses Improve Results?

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We have long noted that there is a clear association of smoking history with effectiveness of oral EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Part of this is because never-smokers have a high incidence of carrying activating EGFR mutations, but also potentially because current smokers actually metabolize EGFR TKIs faster (see prior post).

ATLAS: Another Trial Shows Benefit for "Maintenance"/Early Second Line Therapy

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A press release today informs us that the ATLAS trial of maintenance avastin (bevacizumab) combined with tarceva (erlotinib) vs. avastin with placebo was positive for a significant improvement in progression-free survival (PFS). We had already learned that the very similar SATURN, of maintenance tarceva vs.

Potentially Life-Threatening Hypersensitivity Reaction with Erbitux: A Region-Specific Side Effect

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Erbitux (cetuximab) is a monoclonal antibody to EGFR, and it's actually made from a protein that is part mouse and part human (called a chimeric protein, named for the mythologic creature chimera that was composed of multiple parts from different animals). It's uncommon but not rare for patients to have an allergic reaction to this protein, and in most large national and international studies show rates of hypersensitivity reactions (HSRs) in the 1-3% range.