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Therapy can Help Treat Lung Cancer Patients, Study Reports

Update Date: Nov 26, 2014 10:16 AM EST

A new type of drug therapy has the potential to treat older and African-American patients suffering from advanced lung cancer. The therapy, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is currently in a phase-2 clinical trial.

For this study, the researchers headed by Nagla Karim, MD, PhD, associate professor in the division of hematology oncology at the UC College of Medicine and member of the Cincinnati Cancer Center and the UC Cancer Institute, tested the effectiveness of gefitinib for treating patients with non-small cell lung cancer who have very little treatment options available.

"Getitinib is a safe oral agent that may be of benefit to a specific population of these patients," Karim stated in the press release. "Improving the quality of life for patients with this type of lung cancer is an important goal as there is currently no beneficial treatment for them and chemotherapy is often not an option because of their poor health status."

The team recruited 12 patients who had a poor prognosis and were not treated with chemotherapy. The team used the Functional Assessment of Cancer-Lung Questionnaire and Trial Outcome Index to assess response rate, progression-free survival, overall survival, and life quality. The researchers found that overall survival rates and life quality were higher in African Americans and older patients.

"Gefitnib is an overall active and well-tolerated therapy for this subgroup of patients with a poor prognosis and was found to improve quality of life," Karim stated. "In spite of the small number of patients in the study, our results suggest that older patients and those who were African Americans had higher quality of life scores and felt this treatment improved their outcomes. This study may provide evidence that gefitnib could be an option for therapy in this subgroup of patients for which chemotherapy is not recommended."

The study was published in the journal, Clinical Medicine Insights: Oncology.

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