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Investigators to examine how Ephb2 gene causes ependymoma in children

April 04, 2017

Until recently, clinicians assumed that older patients were more likely to suffer from serious toxicities associated with standard chemotherapy. Therefore, Borghaei's team focused their current study on patients 65 years and older, enrolling 33 patients with a median age of 74 years. All patients had previously untreated, advanced NSCLC. Patients received standard dose erlotinib (a small molecule inhibitor of the epidermal growth factor receptor) and bevacizumab (an antibody that blocks the vascular endothelial growth factor pathway) every 21 days until patients either progressed or stopped treatment due to adverse events.

Six patients remain on therapy and have received 4 to 40 cycles of treatment. Of the 24 patients off therapy, the median number of cycles received was 4, with a range of one to 40. The estimated progression-free survival for all patients is 6.6 months. The estimated one-year survival is 56.6%, with 12 patients remaining alive, and the estimated median overall survival is 14.1 months.

"With standard chemotherapy we can only give four to six cycles," Borghaei says. "But with this biologic regimen we can continue therapy because there is less toxicity. They are on continuous drugs, which might be one reason that they appear to have longer progression free survival. We have to wait for the final data and analyze it before we know -- and the big test would be a head-to-head phase III trial with chemotherapy."

Source: Fox Chase Cancer Center