CHICAGO June 2 2007
quote:The drug Erbitux prolongs survival in patients with advanced head and neck cancer by nearly three months, according to study results announced Saturday.
"This is the first systemic treatment in 25 years to show a survival benefit over platinum-based chemotherapy" for these patients, he said.
"We have now found for the first time--in a group of patients with a very poor outcome--a survival benefit that will change practice," said Dr. Jan Vermorken, oncology professor from the University of Antwerp in Belgium, in a prepared statement. The study results were unveiled at the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)conference.
The study tracked 222 patients with metastatic head and neck cancer who took Erbitux with chemotherapy, and 220 patients who took chemo without Erbitux. The Erbitux patients survived an average of 10.1 months, compared to 7.4 months for patients taking chemo without the drug.
"I was hopeful for this study but I was also very skeptical," Vermorken said at a press conference Saturday morning. He noted that head and neck cancer is notoriously difficult to treat. But he said the study exceeded the goal of prolonging survival by two months.
See also: Study: Erbitux prolongs cancer survival