Brazilian researchers have found out that drug erlotinib in combination with cisplatin-based chemoradiation therapy (CRT) can prove very effective in the treatment of cervical cancer.
In the experiment, the drug targets the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) - a receptor that is usually produced in excess in cervical cancer patients.
As part of the study, the research team, led by Dr Angélica Nogueira-Rodrigues of the Brazilian National Cancer Institute, carried out the test on 36 women in the age group of 18-70 years and who had cervical cancer stages IIB to IIIB. After an average of 77-day therapy, cancerous tumours vanished in 34 (94.4%) patients.
At 2 years after the treatment was stopped, 91.7% of the patients were alive and there was no progress in the disease for 80.6% patients. Even after one year, 80% of the women were alive and there was no progress in the disease for 73.8% women.
Researchers said, "To the best of our knowledge, the current study is the first to reveal that a target agent is safe and has promising activity against locally advanced cervical cancer when combined with CRT."
Until now, for patients suffering from locally advanced cervical cancer, cisplatin-based CRT is considered the standard treatment. But the researchers said that at times the therapy can be unpredictable and disappointing for patients.
The study was published in Cancer.