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Celecoxib with Weekly Paclitaxel is a Safe and Active Therapy for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

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A recent article published in the Cancer Journal studied the effectiveness and safety of using Celecoxib and Paclitaxel for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancers. The study also observed for the presence of certain ‘biomarkers’ to indicate a decrease in tumour growth. Study participants had been previously treated with platinum-based chemotherapy for their non-small cell lung cancer, and their disease had not been well-controlled by it. Fifty eight patients were included in the study, and they were given many cycles of Paclitaxel once-a-week (for 6 weeks only) and Celecoxib twice-a-day for 8 weeks. Patients treated in this manner experienced an overall survival of ~11 months, and 42.5% of them experienced one-year survival. This study concluded that the combination of Celecoxib and Paclitaxel is a safe and effective second-line treatment option for patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

Lung cancer is said to be the leading cause of death from all cancers, and many researchers have tried to find safe and effective treatments for it. A number of different drugs have been studied, and of these, the chemotherapy drugs Docetaxel and Gefitinib have been recommended by the American Society of Clinical Oncology Guidelines. However, further studies have shown that Docetaxel and Paclitaxel have similar effectiveness, and some show that Paclitaxel is more tolerable for patients when given as a weekly dose of 80mg/m2/week. Some researchers believe that an effective way of stopping tumours from growing is by preventing certain pathways or processes in the body from occurring. One such pathway involves prostaglandins, which are present in inflammation. Studies have found strong evidence that a decrease in the growth and spread of tumours may be related to slowing down the actions of the enzyme cyclooxygenase, or more particularly, COX-2. This enzyme controls the release of prostaglandins in the body, and is frequently found in large amounts even in early disease. Celecoxib is an anti-inflammatory drug that is available in Australia, and it selectively reduces the actions of this COX-2 enzyme. It has been used in combination with other chemotherapy drugs, and was found to be effective and tolerable for patients with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC). There were 58 patients included in this study and they were all given Celecoxib 400mg twice daily for each 8 week cycle, unless they experienced unacceptable side effects. They were also given weekly doses of Paclitaxel 80mg/m2 into their veins for only 6 of the 8 weeks. The most significant side effect was of the nervous system, and this affected 15.2% of patients with severe disease. The ‘biomarkers’ used for the study were interleukin-6 (IL-6) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and patients had a decreased level of VEGF after treatment, showing that one of the processes that support the growth of tumours had been down sided. The results showed that patients avoided spread of disease for ~5 months, and survived for ~11 months from treatment. Also, 42.5% of patients survived from the cancer for a year. Overall, this study found the combination of Celecoxib and weekly Paclitaxel to be safe and effective for patients with non-small cell lung cancer, however, further studies need to be done with a larger group of patients.

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Posted On: 25 June, 2007
Modified On: 16 January, 2014

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