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Expanded Use for Chemotherapy Drug

Taxotere OK'd for early lung cancer treatment

FRIDAY, Dec. 6, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved expanded use of the chemotherapy drug Taxotere, allowing manufacturer Aventis to market the drug as a first-line treatment for non-small cell lung cancer.

The drug is already widely used as a first-line treatment for breast cancer, meaning it is the first drug to be prescribed after diagnosis. It had also been a second-line treatment for lung cancer, to be used after patients had tried another form of chemotherapy. Taxotere had about $1 billion in U.S. sales last year.

Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common form of lung cancer, which claims about 155,000 lives each year, or 28 percent of all cancer deaths. Lung cancer is now the number one cause of cancer deaths among women, having surpassed breast cancer.

The FDA approval of the drug's expanded use was based on a clinical trial involving 1,218 patients. The drug works by preventing cancer cells from dividing to form new cells. Taxotere's primary side effects include low white blood cell count, fatigue, fluid retention and mouth sores.

Here is the company's announcement of the FDA approval. For more information about lung cancer, visit the National Cancer Institute.

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