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New data from phase III SATURN study shows Tarceva improves overall survival when used immediately after initial chemotherapy in patients with advanced lung cancer


Roche announced today that SATURN, a pivotal Phase III study, met a key secondary endpoint of extending overall survival in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who received Tarceva® (erlotinib) immediately after their initial chemotherapy. A statistically significant improvement in overall survival was seen in the pre-planned final analysis of the total patient population in the study. The new data will be presented during the 13th World Conference on Lung Cancer to be held July 31 – August 4, 2009 in San Francisco.

Treating patients immediately following first-line chemotherapy versus waiting for the cancer to grow or spread before giving additional treatment represents a new approach in advanced NSCLC.

“This study has now not only confirmed that immediate treatment with Tarceva after initial chemotherapy delayed the progression of disease, but also importantly helped patients in the study live longer,” said Professor Federico Cappuzzo, M.D., Istituto Clinico Humanitas IRCCS, Milan and principal investigator of the SATURN study. “This is good news for doctors and their patients since advanced lung cancer is one of the most challenging cancers to treat and is often associated with a very short life-expectancy.”

Commenting on the study, William M. Burns, CEO Division Roche Pharmaceuticals said, “This is the second set of data from large studies that has shown Tarceva helps patients with advanced lung cancer to live longer. These results confirm that Tarceva has an important role to play in improving the lives of patients earlier in the management of this devastating disease.”

Tarceva is already a well established treatment in second-line management of advanced NSCLC after the failure of chemotherapy and is proven to extend survival for a broad range of patients in this setting.1 Most recently, presentation of the SATURN primary endpoint data analysis at ASCO 2009 showed that patients who received treatment with Tarceva immediately after initial chemotherapy if their cancer had not progressed had a 41% improvement in the length of time they lived without their disease getting worse compared to placebo.2

Roche and OSI, its US collaborator for Tarceva, will use the overall survival data to support their European and US applications for use of Tarceva as a first-line maintenance treatment for patients with advanced NSCLC. These applications were made to the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March 2009 and are based on the pivotal Phase III SATURN trial.

Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide with 1.5 million new cases annually3 and NSCLC accounts for almost 85 percent of all lung cancers4. NSCLC progresses rapidly; less than 5% of advanced NSCLC patients survive for five years4. Extending the time patients live and managing side effects are key treatment goals.


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