According to results recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the oral chemotherapy agent Hycamtin® (topotecan) may provide an effective alternative to intravenous chemotherapy in the treatment of recurrent non–small cell lung cancer.

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. Non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer. “Non–small cell” refers to the type of cell within the lung where the cancer originated.

Recurrent NSCLC refers to cancer that has returned or progressed following prior therapies. Effective treatment options remain limited for these patients. Outcomes are focused on improving the duration of survival for patients while maintaining a good quality of life.

A commonly used chemotherapy agent in the treatment of recurrent NSCLC is Taxotere® (docetaxel). However, Taxotere is administered intravenously (into a vein), which requires extended stays at medical facilities for administration as well as potential for pain and infection. Oral chemotherapy agents, such as Hycamtin, may offer patients a more convenient alternative.

Researchers recently conducted a phase III clinical trial (phase prior to FDA review) to evaluate the effectiveness of oral Hycamtin in the treatment of recurrent NSCLC. This trial included 829 patients with advanced NSCLC who were treated with either oral Hycamtin or intravenous Taxotere and were directly compared.

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  • At one year, survival rates were similar: 25.1% for those treated with Hycamtin and 28.7% for those treated with Taxotere.
  • Half of the patients treated with Hycamtin were still alive at 28 weeks, and half of the patients treated with Taxotere were alive at 30.7 weeks.
  • Cancer progressed approximately two weeks later for those treated with Taxotere compared to Hycamtin.
  • Severely low levels of immune cells occurred more frequently with Taxotere, while severely low levels of red blood cells and platelets occurred more frequently with Hycamtin.

The researchers concluded that Hycamtin provides similar outcomes compared to Taxotere in the treatment of recurrent NSCLC. Hycamtin can be administered orally, which may improve convenience and quality of life compared to intravenous administration of Taxotere.

Reference: Ramlau R, Gervais R, Krzakowski M, et al. Phase III Study Comparing Oral Topotecan to Intravenous Docetaxel in Patients With Pretreated Advanced Non–small Cell Lung Cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2006; 24: 2800-2807.

Related News:Oral Hycamtin® Active and Convenient in Relapsed Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer(7/5/2005)

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