Experimental pill found to improve symptoms in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer

d in 34 percent of patients who responded to the lower dose of ZD 1839 as compared to 23 percent of patients receiving ZD 1839 at 500 mg.

Although patients at both dose levels tolerated ZD 1839 reasonably well, there were fewer and less severe side effects at the 250 mg dose compared to the 500 mg dose level, said Dr. Natale. Since there were no significant differences between dose levels in these patients quality of life or symptom improvement, the recommended dose will be 250 mg.

In addition, the investigators found that about 11 percent of patients had significant tumor regression (objective response), as measured by CT scans, and another 30 percent had disease stabilization for at least two months. Interestingly, symptoms were improved in 95 percent of patients whose tumors shrank in response to treatment, while 71 percent with stable disease (lung cancer that had neither progressed or diminished in response to treatment) experienced fewer symptoms. Quality of life was also improved in 86 percent of the patients who responded to treatment and in 52 percent of patients with stable disease. Further, the investigators observed that patients with reduced symptoms lived almost five months longer than those whose symptoms did not improve.

The truly surprising findings from this study were not only that patients with fewer symptoms lived longer, but that patients felt better and had fewer symptoms despite whether or not their tumors responded to treatment with ZD 1839, said Dr. Natale. This represents a significant step forward for patients battling this disease.


Contact: Kelli Stauning
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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