ASTRAZENECA STARTS LUNG CANCER DRUG TRIAL

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AstraZeneca has started recruiting patients into a pivotal Phase II/III study of the lung cancer drug AZD2171. The study will investigate overall survival and tumor response rate in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer by comparing the efficacy of "doublet" chemotherapy, paclitaxel and carboplatin, plus either a once-daily AZD2171 tablet or once-daily placebo tablet. The drug is designed to block a protein known as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) that helps develop blood vessels that feed tumors.

Current evidence from preclinical studies indicates that AZD2171 inhibits all three VEGF receptors involved in mediating tumor angiogenesis, or the growth of new blood vessels.

AZD2171 has potential for activity in a wide range of tumors as well as for combining with other anticancer agents. Phase I data indicated that AZD2171 is generally well-tolerated, with dose-related adverse events being diarrhea, hoarseness, headache and hypertension