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Failure for EGFR inhibitor

AstraZeneca releases disappointing results from trials of Iressa, a promising cancer drug.

Emma Hitt(emma@emmasciencewriter.com)

The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor Iressa (also called ZD1839) does not improve survival in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) compared to those receiving chemotherapy alone, according to new trial data.

Iressa, a small synthetic quinazoline, competitively inhibits the ATP binding site of EGFR, a growth-promoting receptor tyrosine kinase. EGFRs are present in normal cells but are overexpressed in several tumor types; thus, blocking their action is expected to slow the growth of tumor types that overexpress the molecule.

Results from two Phase III trials including over 1000 patients were released Monday by the drug's manufacturer AstraZeneca. The trials showed no survival benefit for patients taking one of two different doses of Iressa in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy, compared with those not taking Iressa.

"This outcome is in contrast to the good results seen in the use of Iressa as monotherapy and points to the...

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