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Novel Lung Cancer Treatment May Change the Standard of Care

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http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stori ... 354&EDATE=

Novel Lung Cancer Treatment May Change the Standard of Care

CLEVELAND, May 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Results from a large national clinical

trial, led in part by researchers at the Ireland Cancer Center of University

Hospitals of Cleveland, were released today that may change the standard of care

for certain types of lung cancer and help those patients live longer. In

findings announced at 4 p.m. on May 13, 2005, at the annual meeting of the

American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), researchers presented data showing

that the addition of the monoclonal antibody Bevacizumab (Avastin) to the

standard treatment for advanced, non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer

produced improved survival rates for those patients.

The phase III study, conducted by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group

(ECOG), involved 878 patients nationwide who were randomized to standard

chemotherapy -- paclitaxel and carboplatin -- with and without Bevacizumab.

Patients who received Bevacizumab lived 2.5 months longer and had a 24.8%

shrinkage in their tumors versus 9.4% shrinkage in patients who had chemotherapy

alone. Bevacizumab is an anti-angiogenesis inhibitor designed to prevent the

formation of new blood vessels to the tumor.

"These exciting results represent a major step forward in the treatment of

advanced lung cancer," says Afshin Dowlati, M.D., co-chair of the ECOG trial and

oncologist at the Ireland Cancer Center of University Hospitals of Cleveland and

assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. "Over

the years, there has been very little headway in lung cancer therapy. With the

use of Bevacizumab, we have for the first time surpassed a one-year survival

rate in over 50% of patients with metastatic cancer. Fifteen years ago the

survival rate was only four months for patients with this diagnosis. We believe

this data has the potential to change the standard of care for this disease."

"It is exciting to see that a new treatment for lung cancer can be so

effective," says Stan Gerson, M.D., Director of the Ireland Cancer Center and

the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. "Blocking blood vessel formation has now

been shown to prolong the life of patients with lung cancer and will open new

doors for even better treatments."

An estimated 172,750 will be diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States

in 2005. Lung cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer and is the

leading cause of cancer-related death in both men and women in this country. An

estimated 163,510 deaths from lung cancer will occur in 2005 in the United

States, accounting for about 29 percent of all cancer-related deaths in the


Other significant presentations at ASCO by Ireland Cancer Center physicians


- Dr. Gerson led a study evaluating a predictive marker for response to a

new agent for leukemia. Cloretazine is a novel agent developed by Vion

Pharmaceuticals for the treatment of leukemia and other cancers. Dr.

Gerson is the nation's expert in a specific drug resistance protein, AGT.

In the study of leukemia patients receiving the drug, Dr. Gerson found

that patients with low levels of the AGT protein were more likely to

respond to drug treatment. This is an example of personalized medicine.

"If we can successfully predict who will respond to a specific drug based

on protein or genetic analysis, we will improve patients chances to be

cured of leukemia," Dr. Gerson said. Studies with Cloretazine are ongoing

at UHC.

- The use of Thalidomide after chemotherapy in small cell lung cancer

improves the average survival rate by four months. In a trial performed

in conjunction with the community oncology sites of the Ireland Cancer

Center, an average survival of 13 months was observed as compared to a

standard survival of 9 months for this disease.

- The Phase I trial of GW786034 a vascular targeting agent. In a trial

performed in collaboration with Duke University and Ireland Cancer

Center the use of an oral agent has been shown to target tumor blood

vessels and has been shown to result in tumor shrinkage in some patients

with advanced kidney cancer.

SOURCE University Hospitals of Cleveland

Web Site: http://www.uhhs.com

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