According to an article recently published in Clinical Cancer Research , the addition of Celebrex® (celecoxib) to Tarceva® (erlotinib) appears to significantly improve anticancer responses compared to Tarceva alone in advanced lung cancer. Longer follow-up is necessary to determine how these response rates will ultimately affect patient outcomes.
Lung cancer remains the leading cause of death in the U.S. and Europe. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) refers to the type of cell within the lung where the cancer originated; it accounts for approximately 75%-80% of all lung cancers.
Advanced NSCLC refers to cancer that has spread from the lung to distant sites in the body. Long-term survival for patients with advanced NSCLC remains suboptimal, and researchers continue to evaluate new therapeutic strategies to treat this disease.
Tarceva is an agent that is targeted against the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) pathway. The EGFR pathway is involved in cellular growth and replication. It is also implicated in the development and/or spread of some types of cancers. It is approved for the treatment of NSCLC in patients who have stopped responding to prior therapies. Unfortunately, only approximately 10% of patients with NSCLC treated with Tarceva alone achieve anticancer responses.
Researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) recently conducted a clinical trial to evaluate the addition of the anti-inflamatory agent Celebrex to Tarceva in the treatment of advanced NSCLC. This small trial included 21 patients who received escalating doses of Celebrex plus Tarceva.
• Anticancer responses were achieved in 33% of patients.
• Disease was stabilized in an additional 24% of patients.
• The most common side effects of this treatment included rash and skin-related effects, occurring in approximately 86% of patients.
The researchers concluded that it appears that the addition of Celebrex to Tarceva augments anticancer activity in patients with advanced NSCLC. Another clinical trial is planned for further evaluation of this treatment combination in patients with NSCLC.
Reference: Reckamp K et al. A Phase I Trial to Determine the Optimal Biologic Dose of Celecoxib When Combined with Erlotinib in Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. Clinical Cancer Research. 2006;12: 3381-338.
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