EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

June 1, 2014

New drugs may make a dent in some cancer

CHICAGO (AP) — New drugs are making a dent against some hard-to-treat cancers, but some results raise fresh questions about whether the benefit is worth the cost. For the first time in a decade, an experimental drug has extended the lives of patients with advanced lung cancer who relapsed after standard chemotherapy. But the drug used in the study gave patients just six extra weeks of life on average, and costs $6,000 per infusion as currently sold to treat a different form of cancer.

Eli Lilly and Co.’s drug, Cryamza, was discussed Saturday at a cancer conference in Chicago, where other studies showed:

n The drug Imbruvica, sold by Pharmacyclics Inc. and Janssen Biotech, substantially improved survival and could set a new standard of care for relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or CLL, the most common leukemia in adults. Doctors say the pill more precisely targets cancer and is a good option for older people who can’t tolerate standard chemotherapy infusions.

n Two experimental pills from AstraZeneca PLC worked much better than one alone against ovarian cancer that resisted or came back after standard chemo. The drugs significantly prolonged the time women lived without their disease worsening.

LUNG CANCER

Cyramza is sold now to treat stomach cancer and fights the formation of blood vessels that feed tumors. French researchers led a study with 1,253 patients who relapsed after initial treatment of advanced lung cancer, a more common disease.

All were given the chemo drug docetaxel and half also received Cyramza infusions every three weeks. Median overall survival was 10.5 months for those on the combo and 9 months for the others; there were significantly more side effects with the combo.

“I don’t think a six-week increment is that impressive” for survival, said Dr. Derek Raghavan, an independent expert and president of the Levine Cancer Institute at Carolinas HealthCare System in Charlotte, North Carolina. He also is on a task force on value in cancer care for the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the group hosting the conference.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
World/National News

Latest U.S. News
Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Weather Gives Washington Firefighters Hope Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message $5M Bond Set for Teens in Homeless Killings New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Obama Calls for Immediate Access to Crash Site Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism Native American Teens Get Taste of College Legendary Actor James Garner Dies
Latest World News
Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques Israeli Aircraft Hits Dozens of Gaza Targets Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Today in History for July 22nd Raw: Black Boxes of Downed Jetliner Turned Over UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike Raw: Gaza City Shelling Attack Today in History for July 21st Recording May Show Attempt at Crash Cover-up Deadliest Day Yet of Israel-Gaza Fighting Ukraine Rebels: Black Boxes Will Be Returned Today in History for July 20th
Photos of the Week