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Advances in cancer treatment

Results of two separate studies have shown advances in the treatment of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer and early-stage testicular cancer
Results of two separate studies have shown advances in the treatment of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NLSCLC) and early-stage testicular cancer.

A randomised study of 1,125 lung cancer patients across 30 countries (of which 94 per cent had stage IV disease) has shown patients given chemotherapy plus Erbitux had a survival rate of 11.3 months. This is 1.2 months longer than those given chemotherapy alone. There was also a higher response rate (36.3 per cent) for patients given the combined treatment versus chemotherapy alone (29.2 per cent).

ìPatients with advanced NSCLC have limited treatment options and life expectancy is short, so the survival increase shown in this study is an important step for these patients,î said Robert Pirker, MD, an associate professor of medicine at Medical University of Vienna in Austria.

Based on these findings, the authors have said there will be further studies evaluating Erbitux in earlier stages of the disease.

Testicular cancer advances
In the largest ever study into testicular cancer has found that a single dose treatment of chemotherapy for early-stage testicular tumours is a safe, effective and less toxic approach than radiation therapy. The randomised study also showed that after five years, there was a decreased risk of patients developing a second tumour in the other testicle, though longer follow-up is needed.

ìPersonal preference is becoming a more important factor in determining the best treatment for patients with testicular cancer. Weíve also seen this in prostate cancer, where there are a number of equally strong treatment options,î said Tim Oliver, MD, professor emeritus of medical oncology at St Bartholomewís Hospital in London.

ìThis study establishes surgery followed by carboplatin chemotherapy as a safe new alternative for patients who have early-stage seminima and would prefer a treatment that lasts a shorter period of time.î

Researchers said that future studies would investigate the option of lumpectomy and single dose chemotherapy for men who present early enough with small tumours, allowing them to avoid losing the diseased testicle.

2nd June 2008

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