Erbitux Looks Good in Head-Cancer Study

The ImClone drug and radiation extended patient lives for longer than radiation alone.
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ImClone Systems'

(IMCL)

colon-cancer drug Erbitux significantly extended the lives of patients with head and neck cancer, according to a study published Thursday.

The trial compared weekly Erbitux use plus radiation to radiation alone. The study found that the addition of the drug increased overall survival and controlled the progression of the disease for a longer period of time than radiation did by itself, according to the

New England Journal of Medicine

.

Patients in the Erbitux arm of the study lived for 49 months, while those receiving radiation alone lived 29.3 months. The combined treatment also resulted in an additional nine-and-a-half months of cancer control. Reports of severe side effects in the Erbitux group didn't vary significantly from incidents among patients receiving only radiation.

Erbitux is currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use with irinotecan, a type of chemotherapy, for colon cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.

ImClone shares were up 57 cents, or 1.6%, to $36.70 early Thursday.