May 16, 2012 / 11:10 PM / 5 years ago

Pfizer drug shows promise in lung cancer-study

* Dacomitinib “median progression free survival” was 17 months

* 74 pct of patients had partial response to drug

May 16 (Reuters) - An experimental lung cancer pill being developed by Pfizer Inc showed promise in delaying worsening of the disease, according to preliminary results from a midstage study.

Seventy-four percent of patients who received dacomitinib as an initial treatment for their lung cancer had a partial response to the drug, according to an abstract, or brief summary, of the study that became available on Wednesday.

The preliminary median progression free survival - or the average time it took for the disease to worsen - was 17 months.

Data from the 92-patient open label study will be presented next month at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago.

Patients in the study had stage III or IV adenocarcinoma and had not received prior systemic treatment. They were given dacomitinib once a day at 45 milligrams or 30 mg with the option to move up to 45 mg.

Common side effects included acne-like skin eruptions and diarrhea, which occurred in 17 percent and 13.5 percent of patients, respectively. Three patients discontinued treatment due to drug-related toxicity.

Dacomitinib inhibits a variety of proteins that play a role in cell division and proliferation, including EGFR, HER-1, HER-2 and HER-4, that can lead to progression of cancer. Over expression of HER has been associated with late stage cancers, including breast, lung, gastric and colorectal cancers.

Pfizer is studying the drug in a variety of clinical trials, both as an initial treatment and following chemotherapy.

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