A group of British researchers has found that a tablet that is currently being sold by the NHS is more effective than standard chemotherapy and can double the survival chances for patients suffering from lung cancer.
The drug, known as erlotinib, is sold by the NHS under the brand name Tarceva. The researchers found that those who took a daily dose of Tarceva managed to go 9.7 months without disease progression compared to just 5.2 months among lung cancer patients who were given standard chemotherapy.
In a study involving more than 1,200 patients, the researchers found that erlotinib reduced the risk of the cancer spreading by more than 63 percent and had none of the severe side effects experienced by chemotherapy patients.
Commenting on the study, the consultant medical oncologist at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Dr Marianne Nicolson told the Daily Mirror, "These results are very exciting. Tarceva is already used after ¬chemotherapy, and this study demonstrates what can be achieved when it is used as an initial treatment."