Cetuximab plus gemcitabine and oxaliplatin looks promising as standard palliative treatment

Thursday, November 11, 2010 (Last Updated: 11/12/2010)

THURSDAY, Nov. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Cetuximab in combination with gemcitabine and oxaliplatin shows promise as a first-line palliative care treatment for biliary tract cancers and appears to increase the chance for potentially curative secondary resection, according to the results of a prospective, phase II trial published online Nov. 10 in The Lancet Oncology.

Birgit Gruenberger, M.D., of Barmherzige Brueder Hospital Vienna in Austria, and colleagues gave 30 patients with unresectable biliary tract cancer intravenous infusions of cetuximab, gemcitabine, and oxaliplatin to test the efficacy and safety of the former in combination with the latter two.

The researchers found that 19 (63 percent) of the patients experienced objective response, three achieving complete response and 16 achieving partial response. Following major response to therapy, nine patients underwent secondary resection. Grade 3 adverse events such as skin rash, nausea, and peripheral neuropathy occurred in 13 patients, but none reported grade 4 events.

"Cetuximab plus gemcitabine and oxaliplatin was well tolerated and had encouraging antitumor activity, leading to secondary resection in a third of patients. These findings warrant further study of cetuximab plus gemcitabine and oxaliplatin in a large randomized trial," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies.

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Specialties Hematology & Oncology
OBGYN & Women's Health
Family Practice
Internal Medicine

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