Erlotinib Fails as Maintenance Therapy for Ovarian Cancer :(

Erlotinib Fails as Maintenance Therapy for Ovarian Cancer

IMNG Medical Media. 2012 Jul 23, S London

CHICAGO (IMNG) - Maintenance erlotinib was no more efficacious than observation when given to women with ovarian or related cancers who had no evidence of progression after receiving first-line platinum-based chemotherapy.

The 835 women studied in a randomized, phase III trial had a median progression-free survival of about 1 year and an overall survival median of about 4.5 years regardless of whether they were assigned to erlotinib - an oral inhibitor of the EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) tyrosine kinase - or simple observation.

The findings were similar in patient subgroups who were stratified according to a wide range of factors, such as stage and (in preliminary analyses) tumor EGFR positivity, investigators reported at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

"Maintenance erlotinib after first-line chemotherapy in patients with ovarian, peritoneal, or fallopian tube cancer did not increase progression-free survival nor overall survival," said lead investigator Dr. Ignace B. Vergote. Moreover, a quarter of patients stopped the drug early because of adverse effects

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Cynic that I am, I'm a little wary of the drug companies continually trying to come up with expensive maintenance drugs. I don't believe drugs are the answer. They can knock it back, but the rest is up to us and our lifestyle (those of you on maintenance, I'm sure I'm wrong about many situations....I know I'm just plain lucky to have had such a good response and still be in remission).

I just think our society is too geared towards drugs being the ultimate answer for everything. And the drug companies are only too happy to continue to perpetrate this idea.

I wish somebody would have as their control group, in one of these studies, NED patients who are willing to stick to the kind of diet many here try to adhere to, e.g., no sugar/low carb, high quality protein, low or no dairy, etc. I would be an interesting comparison.

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Well aren't those people already a control group? We just need to read their data alongside the data from the trial.

Hobby-horse alert:

What about gathering all data in one place and making it available to all researchers?

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Herceptin (trastuzumab) Sensitizes Ovarian Cancer Cells to EGFR-targeted Therapeutics like Tarceva (erlotinib)?


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Right, Jenny, except that they are not organized, starting at the same time, their status at the beginning unknown, etc. I mean, it really wouldn't be hard to organize by any particular study, if they just would. But what pharma company wants to know whether diet is equally or more effective?

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Perhaps the organisation of this can start with one clinic at a time? If say the Block Centre and Namaste were to capture their data with the women who attend their clinics wouldn't that be a good trial? They know what cancer and what chemo people have...?

The biggest problem is money, or is that egos?

Greg as a matter of interest, NZ had a controversy a few years ago when the govt decided Herceptin was too expensive to provide on the health service. People power won...

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It wouldn't take a lot of money. The studies already have control groups. They'd just have to define them differently. I'm still composing that letter to Obama and NIH in my head. Got side-tracked with more of Blue Cross's nonsense. Wastes my time!@

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