Certain people who have non-small cell lung cancer may receive treatment with Iressa® (gefitinib). Clinical studies have looked at the efficacy of Iressa and determined whether it can help improve survival rates.
One study focused on people with non-small cell lung cancer whose disease progressed despite previous treatment, or who could not tolerate previous treatment. They were given either gefitinib or a placebo (a "sugar pill" that does not contain any active ingredients). People given Iressa lived 5.6 months, while those who were given a placebo lived 5.1 months.
Other studies focused on using Iressa in combination with standard first-line chemotherapy for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer. In these studies, the addition of Iressa did not extend the life of people who had not previously been treated with chemotherapy. It also did not provide any benefit in the time it took for the cancer to progress or how well the tumors responded to treatment.
(Click Iressa for more details on how this medicine works, whether it is effective, and potential side effects.)