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Trial compares targeted lung cancer treatments head-to-head

June 22, 2016



A world-first international clinical trial of two approved targeted therapies for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer showed the newer one significantly improves patient outcomes. The study compared gefitinib and afatinib, treatments that target a mutation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) found in about 10 percent of NSCLC cases in North America. The randomized clinical trial involved 319 patients from 13 countries with late-stage NSCLC who had never been treated before. After two years of treatment, 17.6 percent of patients on afatinib were progression-free, versus 7.6 percent on gefitinib. In addition, 70 percent of patients on afatininb had their cancers shrink upon treatment compared to 56 percent of patients on gefitinib. Seven patients from The Ottawa Hospital participated in this study, and many more will likely benefit from this research. Dr. Scott Laurie was the local principal investigator for Ottawa and co-authored the study published in Lancet Oncology.

Local co-investigators: Garth Nicholas, Paul Wheatley-Price, Martin Reaume, Glenwood Goss and David Stewart.

Funder: Boehringer Ingelheim

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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.

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For further information, please contact


Amelia Buchanan
Senior Communication Specialist
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Office: 613-798-5555 x 73687
Cell: 613-297-8315
ambuchanan@ohri.ca