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According to results presented at the 42nd annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the treatment combination consisting of Velcade (bortezomib) plus Gemzar (gemcitabine) plus Paraplatin (carboplatin) provides impressive survival in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer and refers to the type of cell within which the cancer originates.

Advanced NSCLC refers to cancer that has spread to distant sites in the body. Standard treatment of advanced NSCLC typically consists of chemotherapy and/or targeted therapy. Long-term survival for advanced NSCLC is typically less than one year, so research continues to evaluate novel therapeutic options in order to improve outcomes for patients with this disease.

Researchers affiliated with the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) recently conducted a multi-center clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of the addition of Velcade to Gemzar/Paraplatin in the treatment of advanced NSCLC. Velcade is an agent that kills cancer cells by inhibiting cellular processes necessary for sustained growth of the cell. Gemzar plus Paraplatin are two chemotherapy agents that are commonly used in the treatment of advanced NSCLC. This trial included 114 patients with advanced NSCLC who were treated with Velcade/Gemzar/Paraplatin.

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  • At one year, survival was 47%.
  • At two years, survival was 14%.
  • At 11 months, half of the patients were still alive.
  • 75% of patients achieved a partial or complete regression of their cancer, or a stabilization of their cancer.
  • The most common serious side effects were low levels of blood cells.

The researchers concluded that Velcade/Gemzar/Paraplatin is an effective and safe treatment regimen for advanced NSCLC, and warrants a phase III trial (phase of trial prior to FDA review). Patients with advanced NSCLC may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of treatment including Velcade.

Reference: Davies AM, McCoy J, Lara PN, Gumerlock PH, Crowley J, Gandara DR. Bortezomib + gemcitabine (Gem)/carboplatin (Carbo) results in encouraging survival in advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC): results of a phase II Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) trial (S0339). Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Atlanta, Ga. June 2-6, 2006; Abstract # 7017.

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