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Genetic changes in tumor predicts benefit

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Genetic Changes in Tumor Can Predict Treatment Benefit for Patients With Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

This study showed that for some people who have NSCLC with a mutation change to the EGFR gene in the tumor, treatment with the drug gefitinib (IRESSA) slowed cancer growth. The EGFR gene produces a protein that helps lung cancer cells grow and spread.

Gefitinib (IRESSA) is a type of targeted therpay taht targets faulty genes and proteins that contribute to cancer growth and development.

For patients with NSCLC with EGFR gene mutations in the tumor who received IRESSA, the time it took for the cancer to grow and spread was three months longer than for those who received conventional chemotherapy with the drugs carboplatin (Paraplat, Paraplatin) and Paclitaxel (Taxol). Treatment with conventional chemotherapy worked better to slow cancer growth and spread for patients with NSCLC without EGFR mutations. For these patients, the time it took for the cancer to grow and spread was about four months longer with carboplatin and paclitaxel than with gefitinib (IRISSA)


THis study shows that the genetics of a person's tumor can affect which treatment will best slow the growth and spread of NSCLC. "Doctors should consider testing patients similar to those in this study for the EGFR mutation," said lead autor Masahiro Fukuoka, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine at Kinki University School of Medicine in Osaka Japan.

"These findings are also good news for patients because gefitinib (IRISSA) tends to have fewers side effects than conventional chemotherapy, and is given by mouth instead ofin a vein, which could provide a higher quality of life for patients."

Because this study was done only in Asain countris, all patients who participated in the study were Asain. The patients who benefited from gefitinib (IRISSA) were also non smokers of light smokers. Researchers do not know if the benefits would be the same for patients of other races or for patients who smoke more heavily.

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