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According to study results presented at the 23rd annual Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium in New York, Abraxane™ (albumin-bound paclitaxel) appears to be effective and well tolerated as initial treatment of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for 75%-80% of all lung cancers.

Abraxane is a new form of the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel. Abraxane is bound to albumin, a type of protein normally found in the human body. This form of paclitaxel delivers high concentrations of the active ingredient into the cancer cells and, compared to its original form, reduces the frequency of side effects. Abraxane has demonstrated significant activity in various cancers and is moving forward through clinical trials as safety and efficacy data mature.

To assess the effect of Abraxane as the initial treatment of stage IV NSCLC, researchers from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center conducted a phase I trial, followed by a phase II trial. The phase I trial evaluated increasing doses of Abraxane to establish the maximum tolerated dose. The phase II trial included 41 patients with stage IV NSCLC who were not allowed to have had prior chemotherapy for metastatic disease, but may have received prior adjuvant or neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

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The median age of study participants was 69 years. Although this study is still taking place, researchers were able to present some results:

  • 35% of patients experienced a complete or partial disappearance of detectable cancer.
  • Cancer progression was delayed for a median time of approximately 5 months.
  • Median survival was 10.6 months.
  • Severe adverse effects of treatment included low white blood cell levels (10% of patients), sensory neuropathy (16% of patients), and fatigue (10% of patients).

The researchers concluded that Abraxane appears to have significant activity in the treatment of metastatic NSCLC. Furthermore, treatment was well tolerated. Due to these promising results, Abraxane will continue to be evaluated for the treatment of NSCLC.

Reference: Rizvi, N, et al. Phase ½ Study of ABI-007 (Abraxane) in chemotherapy-naïve advanced NSCLC. Proceedings from the 23rd annual Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium. Presented November 4, 2005. New York.

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