A drug currently used to treat pancreatic cancer could help women with advanced lung cancer as well, new research has indicated.
Early studies showed that Tarceva was found to extend life in lung cancer patients who are too ill to get any more chemotherapy. The drug was given as a first-line treatment during the research.
An American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago heard that 15% of female lung cancer sufferers who received Tarceva were alive and there was no aggression of their condition a year later. This compared with 5%of women taking a placebo.
Currently, Tarceva is only used after chemotherapy and only about 7% of lung cancer sufferers in the UK are still alive five years after the disease is diagnosed.
A total of 670 men and women with advanced non-small cell lung cancer took part in the Cancer Research UK trial. Tarceva (also known as erlotinib) works by interfering with how cancer cells multiply.