According to an article recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the agent ixabepilone provides significant anticancer activity in the treatment of non–small cell lung cancer among patients who have experienced cancer progression following a platinum-based chemotherapy regimen.

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) refers to the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for approximately 75–80% of all lung cancers in the U.S. Chemotherapy remains the foundation of treatment for most stages of NSCLC; platinum agents (either cisplatin or carboplatin) are commonly used. When patients have disease that has progressed following treatment with a platinum agent, treatment options are more limited.

Researchers from Europe and the United States recently conducted a clinical trial evaluating the investigative chemotherapy agent ixabepilone in the treatment of NSCLC. This trial included 146 patients with NSCLC whose cancer had progressed following prior platinum-based therapy. Patients were treated with one of two different schedules of ixabepilone as a single agent.

  • Anticancer responses occurred in approximately 12–14% of patients.
  • Median duration of response was between 8.7 months and 9.6 months.
  • One-year survival was 38% for both groups of patients.
  • Ixabepilone was generally well tolerated.

The researchers concluded that ixabepilone may be an effective agent for treatment of patients with NSCLC whose cancer has progressed following platinum-based therapy. Patients with recurrent NSCLC may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of participating in a clinical trial further evaluating ixabepilone or other promising therapeutic approaches. Two sources of information regarding ongoing clinical trials include the National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov) and www.eCancerTrials.com.

Reference: Vansteenkiste J, Lara P, Le Chevalier T, et al. Phase II clinical trial of the epothilone B analog, ixabepilone, in patients with non–small-cell lung cancer whose tumors have failed first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2007;25: 3448-3455.

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