Gefitinib, CAS number 184475-35-2, is also known as the brand Iressa, which is marketed by AstraZeneca and Teva. Gefitinib is approved by the FDA to treat malignant and/or advanced non small cell lung cancer. Iressa has been shown to be effective in about 10% of clinical trial patients. LGM Pharma supplies gefitinib for R&D purposes, and offers assistance to clients through all stages of research.
Acting as more of an anti-tumor medication, gefitinib is not a cytotoxic, or tumor cell killing drug. Gefitinib’s effectiveness is revealed in it’s ability to interfere with and inhibit cancer cell growth. Gefitinib is able to attach to epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFRs), thus blocking the attachment of EGF, and the activation of tyrosine kinase. This subsequently keeps cancer cells from not only growing, but also multiplying. This is ideal for patients who have not shown a positive response to traditional cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy. Gefitinib can be used in these patients as a stand alone drug, or as monotherapy.
A video from The Doctor’s Channel offers reassurance to patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer, whose tumors harbor EGFR mutations, that gefitinib is efficacious as a first line treatment. This video is based on the study from Dr. Geoffrey Y. Ku and his colleagues at Johns Hopkins Singapore International Medical Center, which was reported in Lung Cancer, online, May 11, 2011. This insightful study included 1860 patients who were randomized to receive gefitinib or chemotherapy. The study participants all had known or clinically suspected EGFR mutations. A positive result gleaned from this study was that progression free-survival was better with the patients who received gefitinib than for those who received chemotherapy.
Side effects of gefitinib, or Iressa, are few. The only serious side effect documented has been lung damage. This occurred in just 1% of patients, in the form of interstitial lung disease. The typical dose of gefitinib is 250 milligrams, taken once daily. Caution should be taken in prescribing this drug to patients who take blood thinners, such as warfarin, as gefitinib can increase the effects of these drugs. In addition, those patients taking phenytoin (Dilantin) or rifampin may need to receive a higher dose of gefitinib, as these drugs reduce it’s efficacy. As of January 2013 the patent for Iressa from AstraZeneca will expire. Gefitinib is, and will continue be available for both treatment and research and development.
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