The findings from several large studies on lung cancer were released today at a press briefing
at the 45th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
“Lung cancer is one of the most challenging cancers to treat, but the studies presented today highlight
promising new targeted therapies and milder treatment regimens that improve survival,” said Bruce E.
Johnson, MD, Director of the Dana-Farber Harvard Medical Center Lung Cancer Program and moderator of
the press briefing. “Researchers also report that hormone therapy among menopausal women with lung cancer
is associated with a higher risk of death. These findings add to growing concerns about the safety of hormone
Studies highlighted in the press briefing include:
• Pemetrexed extends survival as maintenance therapy: A phase III study reports that maintenance
therapy with pemetrexed (Alimta) improves overall survival in nonsquamous forms of advanced non-
small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
• Maintenance therapy with two targeted therapies is superior to one alone: A phase III trial finds that
adding erlotinib (Tarceva) to bevacizumab-based (Avastin) maintenance therapy in patients with
advanced NSCLC delays cancer progression more than maintenance treatment with bevacizumab
• Menopausal hormone therapy with estrogen and progestin linked to increased risk of death in women
with lung cancer: A secondary analysis from the Women’s Health Initiative reports that use of
hormone therapy with estrogen plus progestin increases the risk of dying from NSCLC for women
with the disease.
• Novel therapy that targets two receptors benefits patients with advanced lung cancer: A phase III trial
demonstrates that vandetanib (Zactima), a novel drug that targets two key receptors associated with
lung cancer growth, improves progression-free survival in patients with advanced NSCLC.