Hormone Replacement Linked to Lung Cancer Deaths

Treatment with estrogen plus progestin in postmenopausal women is associated with higher death rates from lung cancer, according to a study published early online Sept. 20 in The Lancet to coincide with the European Cancer Organisation meeting in Berlin. In a related study published the same day in the The Lancet, researchers found that pemetrexed is effective maintenance therapy in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer.Tudor Ciuleanu, M.D., from the Oncological Institute Ion Chiricuta in Cluj, Romania, and colleagues randomly assigned 663 patients with stage IIIB or IV non-small-cell lung cancer who had not progressed after platinum-based chemotherapy to maintenance therapy with best supportive care plus either placebo or pemetrexed. They found that pemetrexed significantly improved progression-free and overall survival.
“Until the timing of maintenance therapy can be dissociated from major differences in access to effective therapies after first-line platinum-based therapy, this strategy merits being considered as a strong option, reflected by the recent approval of pemetrexed in this setting by both the European Medicines Agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,” write the authors of an editorial accompanying Ciuleanu’s study.

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