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Erbitux May Help Some With Colorectal Cancers

People with advanced colon cancerwere modestly helped by the drug Erbitux (cetuximab), as long as they didn't have a particular gene mutation, a new study reports.  Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide.

The New England Journal of Medicine published the results of the study, which involved more than 1,100 people who had metastatic colorectal cancer that could not be surgically removed. Half were given a standard chemotherapy regimen, known as FOLFIRI, while the others were given a combination of Erbitux along with the standard regimen.

The study found that in those who had a normal form of the gene, Erbitux, which is administered intravenously, kept colorectal cancers from spreading 15% longer than did the FOLFIRI drugs alone.

Cetuximab was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2006 for use in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Since then, it's been increasingly used by doctors to treat colorectal cancer that has spread or recurred after other chemotherapy.

Clinical trials are ongoing to test Erbitux in people whose cancer has not yet metastasized.

For free information about colon cancer, see the colon cancer malpractice attorneys of Pennsylvania.  Colon cancer is detectable and curable, if caught early.  There are several tests for diagnosing colon cancer before it has spread.  Colon cancer typically starts with a polyp in the colon.