London, March 11 (ANI): Two chemotherapy drugs now indicated for second and third-line therapy in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer are remarkably effective in treating a certain subset of these patients, according to a new study.
Louisiana State University oncologist Vince D. Cataldo and his colleagues say these drugs should be considered as a first-line treatment in people who are known to carry an Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) mutation.
The drugs, Erlotinib and Gefitinib, which are in a class of highly-specific small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors, work by blocking the activation of EGFR which is involved in cell survival and growth, as well as the development of a nourishing blood supply and metastasis.
"Targeting the genetic mutation contributing to the development of the cancer, this class of drugs produced a response rate that exceeded 70pc in these patients," said Cataldo.
The drugs, taken by mouth, also had fewer side effects. Unlike traditional cytotoxic agents, Erlotinib and Gefitinib do not typically cause myelosuppression, neuropathy, alopecia, or severe nausea.
The study has been published in the March 10, 2011 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.