Dutch researchers find Erbitux does not aid other drugs' ability to fight colon cancer


NEW YORK A number of studies have shown a new cancer-fighting monoclonal antibody from ImClone to be effective, but a group of Dutch researchers may have found one of its limits.

Researchers in the Netherlands found that adding Erbitux (cetuximab) to a large combination of other cancer drugs did not increase the combination's effectiveness in fighting colon cancer, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The researchers divided patients into two groups, one of which received Roche's Xeloda (capecitabine), Genentech's and Roche's Avastin (bevacizumab) and Sanofi-Aventis' Eloxatin (oxaliplatin), and another group that received all of those drugs plus Erbitux. The patients in the group receiving Erbitux experienced shorter periods of tumor stability than those not receiving it. The researchers said the difference may have resulted from an interaction between Erbitux and Avastin, which is also a monoclonal antibody.

Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly & Co. bought ImClone last year. ImClone markets Erbitux with Bristol-Myers Squibb, which also owns a share of the New York-based biotech company.

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