Continued Chemo Drug Delays Recurrence Of Lung Cancer

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Early report shows continued drug use delays recurrence

Most patients with advanced lung cancer undergo four courses of the two chemotherapy drugs and discontinue the therapy until the cancer resurfaces. A new research’s early results show that the continued use of one of the two drugs delays the recurrence of the lung cancer. Although, it is early to make a conclusion, a Spanish study shows that continuing the usage of Alimta postpones the recurrence of lung cancer.Maintenance therapy may be effective

Dr. Neal Ready who is a medicine professor at the Duke Cancer Institute in Durham says that this is the first time where the same treatment when continued shows positive results. The trials conducted during the past switched between the chemotherapy routines and hence were not real maintenance approaches. This is the first truly maintenance approach where the physicians continue the same treatment. The survival rate results are still awaited. However, if the results look good, this study would encourage oncologists to continue the treatment after completing the standard treatment.

Study funded by Lily

The study was funded by Lily, which manufactures the drug Alimta. During the study, over one thousand patients diagnosed with advanced non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer were included. The patients were provided the standard four-course treatment combining Alimta and cisplatin. The randomly chosen 539 patients with stabilized diseases were provided with either Alimta or a placebo. The results showed that patients continuing the use of Alimta did not show the recurrence of the cancer for 4.1 months. In comparison, the patients using a placebo showed a recurrence within 2.8 months.

The study holds medical significance

Dr. Luis Paz-Ares who authored the study says that the results of this clinical trial are medically significant. There was a reduction of approximately 38% in the risk of progression. In addition, the side effects observed were similar to the effects seen in previous trials with the drug. However, the new trial showed an increase in fatigue, anemia, and low white blood cells count. Even with the side effects, the incidence was less by five percent with the cost depending on the size of the patients with the average being $4000.

The benefits are worth the expense

Although, the cost of the drug is high, there are several advantages of this therapy and hence oncologists would continue its usage. In addition, the survival rates that are expected soon will encourage the use of this drug in preventing lung cancer.