New drug allows lung cancer patients to live 3 months longer

January 24, 2013

SINGAPORE – The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has recently approved the use of Alimta as the latest chemotherapy drug for patients battling advanced non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer.

Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world, causing nearly 1.4 million deaths annually.

Locally, it is the second most common cancer in males and the third most common for females. It is also the most deadly, contributing to one out of every five cancer-related deaths.

Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common type of lung cancer and the majority of patients are usually already in Stages III or IV when first diagnosed with the disease, meaning that the cancer has spread to nearby tissue and other parts of the body such as the brain or liver.

Approved in October 2012, Alimta allows patients to live for a longer period of time with the disease (about four months longer) without having it worsen, giving them a better quality of life than if they are not on maintenance therapy.

Furthermore, a trial has also showed that Stage IV non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer patients treated with Alimta were 22 per cent less likely to die from the cancer and lived close to three months longer.

Continuation maintenance involves continuing one of the same medicines prescribed in first-line treatment as maintenance therapy, in an effort to extend survival.

It is the most recent addition to a new paradigm of maintenance treatment for advanced non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer.

Prior to the use of maintenance treatment, physicians typically treated a patient with four to six cycles of chemotherapy and then waited until the disease returned or worsened before resuming treatment.

Source: YourHealth, AsiaOne

Category: Pharmaceuticals

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