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Amifostine Reduces Debilitating Side Effects of Chemoradiation in Patients with Inoperable Non-Small Cell Lung Can

Amifostine Reduces Debilitating Side Effects of Chemoradiation in Patients with Inoperable Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
M. D. Anderson News Release 05/15/01

Researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have demonstrated that adding amifostine (Ethyol®) to the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer patients given combined radiation and chemotherapy significantly reduces acute pneumonitis (an inflammation of the lungs) and severe esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus).

“Our study shows that adding amifostine can reduce pneumonitis and severe esophagitis, both painful and debilitating side effects of this powerful and highly toxic treatment,” said Dr. Ritsuko Komaki, the lead investigator of the study and professor of radiation therapy at M. D. Anderson. "Adding radiation to chemotherapy tends to compound these side effects, greatly affecting patients’ quality of life because of severe discomfort, difficulty breathing and swallowing, compromised nutrition and hydration and treatment delays.”

This Phase III randomized trial examines this combination of endpoints and contributes to a growing body of evidence of the protective role of amifostine in patients receiving chemotherapy and/or radiation for a variety of tumors. Of the 53 patients who were evaluated in this study, 26 percent of the patients who received amifostine as part of their treatment experienced a complete response – that is there was no clinical evidence of their tumor for at least four weeks following treatment. Only seven percent of those patients who did not get amifostine experienced a complete response. Whereas 7.4 percent of amifostine patients required morphine to reduce pain for esophagitis, 31 percent of those patients who did not receive amifostine needed morphine. Lastly, only 3.7 percent of the amifostine group developed acute pneumonitis versus 23 percent of the control group. There was a higher incidence of hypotension in the amifostine group; 70 percent versus 3.8 percent.

5/15/01


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