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Targeted therapy improves survival in lung cancer patients

September 2, 2015


The world’s largest clinical trial comparing two targeted therapies for advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the lung has found that a newer therapy called afatinib decreased the risk of cancer progression and the risk of death by 19% compared to an older therapy called erlotinib.

The clinical trial, co-led by Dr. Glen Goss, involved nearly 800 patients in 23 countries whose cancer had stopped responding to platinum-based therapies (the first-line treatment).

Afatinib and erlotinib both inhibit the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) which is responsible for growth and proliferation of cancer cells. However afatinib also inhibits related receptors in the Erb family, and does so in an irreversible manner.

A number of patients at The Ottawa Hospital participated in the trial, and many more are now poised to benefit from this therapy. The results were published in Lancet Oncology.

Co-authors: Jean-Charles Soria, Enriqueta Felip, Manuel Cobo Shun Lu, Konstantinos Syrigos, Ki Hyeong Lee, Erdem Göker, Vassilis Georgoulias, Wei Li, Dolores Isla, Salih Z Guclu, Alessandro Morabito, Young J Min, Andrea Ardizzoni, Shirish M Gadgeel, Bushi Wang, Vikram K Chand, LUX-Lung 8 Investigators.

Funders: Boehringer Ingelheim

About The Ottawa Hospital


The Ottawa Hospital is one of Canada’s largest learning and research hospitals with over 1,100 beds, approximately 12,000 staff and an annual budget of over $1.2 billion. Our focus on research and learning helps us develop new and innovative ways to treat patients and improve care. As a multi-campus hospital, affiliated with the University of Ottawa, we deliver specialized care to the Eastern Ontario region, but our techniques and research discoveries are adopted around the world. We engage the community at all levels to support our vision for better patient care.

For further information, please contact


Jennifer Ganton
Director, Communications and Public Relations,
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Office: 613-798-5555 x 73325
Cell:613-614-5253
jganton@ohri.ca