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iressa and brain mets


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British Journal of Cancer (2003) 89 (Suppl 2), S15-S18.


Quality-of-life benefits and evidence of antitumour activity for patients with brain metastases treated with gefitinib

A Katz1 and P Zalewski2

1Centro Paulista de Oncologia and Department of Oncology, Albert Einstein Hospital, São Paulo, Brazil

2The Scarborough Hospital, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada

Correspondence to: A Katz, Av. Europa 105, São Paulo, Brazil. E-mail: artkatz@uol.com.br

Brain metastases are a common complication of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The role of chemotherapy in the treatment of brain metastases has not been clearly defined. Emerging case reports of patients with recurrent NSCLC treated as part of the Expanded Access Programme reveal that gefitinib ('Iressa', ZD1839) has clinical activity in some patients with brain metastases. Here, we describe a number of case studies documenting the response of patients with brain metastases to treatment with gefitinib. Many of these patients had quality-of-life benefits with improvement of neurological and systemic symptoms; some had a partial response of their brain metastases and even complete responses have been seen in a few patients. One case report also describes a durable long-term response with concurrent treatment with gefitinib and radiotherapy. Such results call for larger trials designed to evaluate and define the role of gefitinib in the treatment of brain metastases in NSCLC patients, either as a single agent or in combination with radiation therapy.

Keywords: gefitinib ('Iressa', ZD1839); EGFR; quality of life; brain metastases; antitumour activity

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