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That kind of case is seen in only a small fraction of U.S. lung cancer patients, but is much more common in Asia, scientists say.
The latest study was led by Dr. Tony Mok of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and involved about 1,200 patients throughout southeast Asia.
The study group included the kind of people most likely to have the mutation, said Dr. Pasi Janne, a Dana-Farber Cancer Institute lung cancer specialist.
The study measured cancer growth within a year after treatment, comparing patients who got Iressa to others who got chemotherapy. After one year, 25 percent on Iressa were alive without their cancer getting worse, as compared to 7 percent of those on chemo.
Results were even better in those with the mutation. In those without the mutation, chemotherapy was more effective.
The study was published online Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine. A second study released by the journal concluded that large-scale screening of lung cancer patients for the genetic mutation is feasible and can lead to wiser treatment.
Mok and several of his fellow researchers received consulting and lecture fees from AstraZeneca, Roche and other drug companies.
On the Net:
New England Journal: http://www.nejm.org/
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