ATLAS lung cancer trial fails to show survival benefit

Despite touting one year ago that adding Tarceva (erlotinib) to Avastin (bevacizumab) after initial treatment with Avastin extended the time advanced non-small cell lung cancer patients lived without their disease getting worse, researchers have now found the combination did not help patients live longer. The follow-up data were released today at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.CURE first reported on the trial, dubbed ATLAS, at last year's ASCO meeting, but at the time, overall survival data were still to come. In a poster presented at this year's meeting, investigators reported that although the drug combination delayed disease progression for 4.8 months compared with 3.7 months for Avastin alone, no significant difference was seen in how long patients survived (14.4 months for the combination versus 13.3 months for Avastin alone).Researchers said that based on this latest analysis, maintenance therapy with Avastin and Tarceva should not be a standard option for these patients.Read more about the latest options for treating non-small cell lung cancer in "Lung Overdue" from CURE's Spring 2010 issue.Melissa Weber is the former managing editor of CURE and is covering the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.