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First Predictive biomarker for lung cancer

High EGFR expression is a predictor for improved survival with cetuximab and chemotherapy, according to new research

High epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression was a good predictor of which lung cancer patients would survive longer when cetuximab (Erbitux) was added to first-line chemotherapy, according to research presented at the 14th World Conference on Lung Cancer in Amsterdam, hosted by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC).

Principal investigator Dr Robert Pirker, of the Medical University of Vienna in Austria, said: "By demonstrating that high EGFR expression is the first predictive biomarker for improved overall survival in advanced NSCLC [non-small cell lung cancer], we have taken a major step towards a more personalised approach in this difficult-to-treat disease."

The latest analysis of FLEX patients (1,121 out of 1,125 FLEX study patients), found that patients with high tumour EGFR expression (200 and above on a scale of 0-300) consistently benefited from the addition of cetuximab to chemotherapy regardless of histology. Within this group, overall survival averaged 12 months, compared with 9.6 months for patients receiving chemotherapy alone.

In patients with low EGFR expression, no difference in overall survival was seen between patients receiving chemotherapy with cetuximab, compared to those receiving chemotherapy alone.

5th July 2011

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