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Targeted Therapies in Metastatic Non-small Cell Lung Cancer

Textbook image of the respiratory system. Credit: Clipart Etc.

Summary by Dr. Vera Hirsh

Lung cancer remains one of the most common cancers worldwide and a leading cause of cancer-related deaths, with an estimated 1.6 million new cases and nearly 1.4 million deaths annually. The majority of patients with non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) will present with advanced stage disease at diagnosis. But even when diagnosed at an early stage, a large number of patients will eventually experience disease relapse with metastases. Five-year survival rate of lung cancer patients is only 15%. Furthermore, patients with advanced lung cancer may experience debilitating symptoms and toxicities related to their treatments, which can seriously effect their quality of life.

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Bevacizumab in Combination with FOLFIRI Chemotherapy in Patients with Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

Chemotherapy drugs. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Summary by Dr. George Dranitsaris

Bevacizumab represents one of the first targeted agents that was been approved for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) in Canada. One of the reasons that the drug has generated so much interest is its high acquisition cost and the potential for serious, although relatively uncommon toxicities. One of the best methods to assess drug performance and safety is in the natural hospital setting. Therefore in this study, our objective was to evaluate safety and efficacy in the first series of patients that had received this agent in our province in the first two years of availability.

We identified 43 patients with mCRC who had received bevacizumab in combination with first line FOLFIRI chemotherapy. We adopted a longitudinal data collection format where the occurrences of adverse events following each cycle of treatment were assessed. Toxicity outcomes such as gastrointestinal (GI) perforations, bleeding, diarrhea, myelosuppression, proteinuria, and venous thromboembolic events (VTEs) were collected and graded using the NCI common toxicity criteria (V 3.0). Time to treatment failure (TTF) and overall survival (OS) were determined using the method of Kaplan–Meier.

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