(RxWiki News) Advanced lung cancer offers few options for patients, unfortunately. A recent Spanish study opens new possibilities by extending the use of an established treatment drug, Alimta.
The study, conducted by Luis Paz-Ares, MD, PhD, Chair of Oncology at Seville University Hospital in Seville, Spain, shows that using the drug Alimta (pemetrexed) as maintenance therapy helps patients with advanced nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer live longer.
Maintenance therapy is ongoing chemotherapy after the original treatment.
"For advanced lung cancer, ask about Alimta."
For the study, 939 patients received standard chemotherapy with pemetrexed and Platinol (cisplatin). Of that group, 539 patients whose cancer had not gotten worse, were given put on maintenance therapy using pemetrexed or a placebo (an inactive substance). Both groups also received supportive care.
Almost 72 percent of patients who received the maintenance therapy of pemetrexed and cisplatin saw their tumors shrink or stop growing, compared to nearly 60 percent of patients who were given the placebo.
Speaking at the 2011 American Society of Clinical Society (ASCO) annual meeting, Dr. Paz-Ares said, these findings mean "more benefit from the same drug." He continued, "I think that's very important because we haven't got many drugs working in this disease and we should be able to optimize the benefit we are getting for every single therapy so that the patients is living longer and is living better."
Findings from the study were presented at the 2011 ASCO meeting.
Note: Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.