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New Standard of Care for Patients with Advanced NSCLC

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Patients with advanced NSCLC who received the drug Alimta as maintenance therapy "(treatment given after chemotherapy to keep the cancer from growing and spreading) lived three to five months longer than patients who did not receive the drug, according to a new study. This study also confirmed that the benefit of maintenance therpay is greater for patients with the noonsquamous type of NSCLC.


"This study will change the standard of care," said lead author Chandra P. Belani, MD, Deputy Director of the Penn State Cancer Institute. "Maintenance therapy with pemetrexed provides a new option for patients who have advanced lung cancer, because it has a low risk of side effects and can be given for a longer time to extend patients lives." Pemetrexed is currently approved by the US Food adn Drug Administration (FDA) for the initial treatment of advanced nonsquamous NSCLC in combination with the drug cisplatin and as a single treatment for patients whose cancer returned.

Although the risk of side effects was low, some patients who received pemetrexed experienced fatigue and low white blood cell counts. The side effects did not increase for patients who received pemetrexed for a longer time.

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