High EGFR expression a predictor for improved survival with cetuximab plus chemotherapy

July 05, 2011

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).

"The new analysis of the Phase III FLEX study has allowed us to identify which non-small cell lung cancer patients are most likely to benefit from treatment with Erbitux in the first-line setting," said principal investigator Dr. Robert Pirker of the Medical University of Vienna in Austria. "By demonstrating that high EGFR expression is the first predictive biomarker for improved overall survival in advanced NSCLC, we have taken a major step towards a more personalized approach in this difficult-to-treat disease."

Based on a new analysis of all FLEX patients (1,121 out of 1,125 FLEX study patients), researchers found that patients with high tumor 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 plus cetuximab, compared to those receiving chemotherapy alone.
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Dr. Robert Pirker will discuss the research with journalists during a WCLC press conference at 10 a.m. CET on Tuesday, July 5. For individual interview requests, please call Renée McGaw at +31 20 549 3413 between July 3-7 in the press office at Amsterdam RAI, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. You may also email her at renee.mcgaw@ucdenver.edu

About the IASLC:

The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), based in Denver, Colorado, U.S.A., is the only global organization dedicated to the study of lung cancer. Founded in 1972, the association's membership includes more than 3,000 lung cancer specialists in 80 countries.

IASLC members promote the study of etiology, epidemiology, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and all other aspects of lung cancer and thoracic malignancies. IASLC disseminates information about lung cancer to scientists, members of the medical community and the public, and uses all available means to eliminate lung cancer as a health threat for the individual patients and throughout the world. Membership is open to any physician, health professional or scientist interested in lung cancer.

IASLC publishes the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, a valuable resource for medical specialists and scientists who focus on the detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer. To learn more about IASLC please visit http://iaslc.org/

International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer

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