Adding Monoclonal Antibody to Chemotherapy Treatment Does Not Improve Overall Survival

WCLC 2015

Contact: Jeff Wolf                                                                                                  Chris Martin                                       
IASLC Director of Communications                                                                   Public Relations Manager         | 720-325-2952                                                    | 630-670-2745                                                                                                  

Becky Bunn
IASLC Projects Specialist | 720-325-2946


Adding Monoclonal Antibody to Chemotherapy Treatment Does Not Improve Overall Survival

DENVER, Colo. – Adding the monoclonal antibody bevacizumab to chemotherapy treatment for patients with surgically removed non-small cell lung cancer did not improve overall survival, according to research presented today at the 16th World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) hosted by the International Association of the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) in Denver.

Bevacizumab has been shown to improve outcomes when added to platinum-based chemotherapy in advanced stage non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Research presented earlier in the WCLC showed that adding bevacizumab to standard treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma increases life expectancy without severe toxicity.

Researchers led by Dr. Heather Wakelee, Associate Professor of Medicine (Oncology) at the Stanford University Medical Center, in Stanford, Calif., on behalf of the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group, set out to determine if the therapy also aided patients with early stage resected NSCLC.

Between 2007 and 2013, the research team led by Dr. Wakelee on behalf of ECOG-ACRIN enrolled 1,501 patients with NSCLC. The study randomized patients to receive either chemotherapy alone or chemotherapy with bevacizumab every three weeks for one year.

Patients with resected stage IB (>4 centimeters) to IIIA (American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) 6th edition) NSCLC were enrolled within six to 12 weeks of surgery and stratified by chemotherapy regimen, stage, histology and sex. All patients were to receive adjuvant chemotherapy consisting of a planned four cycles of every three week cisplatin at 75 mg/m2 with either vinorelbine, docetaxel, gemcitabine or pemetrexed.

The research randomized patients 1:1 to arm A (chemotherapy alone) or arm B, adding bevacizumab at 15 mg/kg every three weeks starting with cycle 1 of chemotherapy and continuing for one year.

Post-operative radiation therapy was not allowed. The study had 85 percent power to detect a 21 percent reduction in the overall survival (OS) hazard rate with a one-sided 0.025-level test. The addition of bevacizumab to adjuvant chemotherapy failed to improve survival for patients with surgically resected early stage NSCLC.

“The study highlights the importance of randomized trials to prove – or disprove – the utility of drugs in different stages of disease,” Dr. Wakelee said. “With the development of other active agents in metastatic lung cancer, it will be important to investigate them fully in earlier stages and not assume the benefit seen in advanced stage will also be proven in earlier stages, though we can remain hopeful.”


About the WCLC:

The WCLC is the world’s largest meeting dedicated to lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies, attracting more than 7,000 researchers, physicians and specialists from more than 100 countries. The conference goal is to increase awareness and collaboration so that the latest developments in lung cancer can be understood and implemented throughout the world. Falling under the theme of “Fighting Lung Cancer,” the conference will cover a wide range of disciplines and unveil several research studies and clinical trial results. For the first time, IASLC has invited survivors to attend the conference free of charge. For more information on the 2015 WCLC, visit:

About the IASLC:

The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) is the only global organization specifically dedicated to the study of lung cancer. Founded in 1974, the association's membership includes nearly 4,000 lung cancer specialists in 80 countries. For more information, visit:





September 9, 2015