A new drug meant to treat squamous cell carcinoma of the lung was recently approved for final review by the Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency. Known generically as afatinib, the drug was previously compared to erlotinib in the LUX-Lung 8 Phase III clinical trial, a study that was completed just before afatinib’s final review was granted. The results of the study found that afatinib, when taken once daily, improved patients’ quality of life and increased their survival rate in comparison to erlotinib.
These results were only the latest in a series of similar trials that further supported the claim that afatinib is superior to erlotinib in treating squamous cell cancer in the lung. Most patients diagnosed with this form of lung cancer are given an average survival rate of around a year, but afatinib may extend this rate and improve patients’ lives during their final months. Although the side effects of afatinib have not fully been established, the drug’s apparent superiority suggests that it may be an option for patients who do not respond to more traditional chemotherapy drugs.