We all know now that lung cancer, and in particular NSCLC, sits atop the list of cancer killers in the United States and western world. We also have been having extensive discussions on this site about all these great new treatment modalities: better staging (i.e. PET), better surgeries (i.e. VATS), radiosurgery (i.e. gamma knife), better radiation (i.e. IMRT), and better chemotherapy or targeted agents.
One of my earliest posts when I started OncTalk was on the use of oral inhibitors of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), one of the growth signals that is often over-active in cancer cells, against advanced bronchioloalveolar carcinoma (BAC), a unique subtype of lung cancer that tends to grow within the lungs, sometimes slowly, and not progress elsewhere.
Last year, a provocative trial was presented at ASCO that compared early vs. later taxotere as second line therapy. I described that study here, and it showed a very significant improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) and a near significant improvement in overall survival (OS) for the recipients of taxotere immediately after four cycles of first line chemo for advanced NSCLC.
I'll get back to the storyline of our growing understanding of the differences of individuals based on pharmacogenomics very soon. But I wanted to give people some breaking news that just came out.
Merck KgAA, the company developing cetuximab/Erbitux, the monoclonal antibody against EGFR, reviewed here) outside of the US, has announced that their pivotal FLEX trial (for First-Line Trial for patients with EGFR-Expressing Advanced NSCLC) is positive, demonstrating a signficant improvement in overall survival, as indicated