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Lung-Cancer Drug Can Prolong Life

Ramucirumab, a drug designed to combat solid tumors, has proven effective as a second-line treatment for patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer when it’s combined with another drug, docetaxel.

In a randomized phase III clinical trial, the two drugs showed greater effectiveness than docetaxel combined with a placebo. The findings were published in the British journal Lancet.

A team of researchers, including corresponding study author Dr. Edward B. Garon, MD, of UCLA, looked at 1,253 patients. The median survival rate was 10.5 months for patients who had the combination of drugs, compared with 9.1 months for patients who took only docetaxel.

The number of deaths from causes other than lung cancer did not differ between the two groups.

Side effects of ramurcirumab plus docetaxel included low white blood cell counts, fatigue, and hypertension. The researchers said side effects were manageable when doses were adjusted.

The study was funded by the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical company, which developed ramucirumab.

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