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What is ramucirumab?

Edward B. Garon, MD
Hematology & Oncology
Ramucirumab is a drug approved to treat non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Ramucirumab lengthens survival time in people with lung cancer who often have few treatment options. Ramucirumab is an antibody that targets an important protein in the formation of vessels that supply blood to cancer cells.

Since 2000, chemotherapy with the single drug docetaxel has been the cornerstone of second-line treatment for people with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). A study, which involved more than 1,200 people with NSCLC whose disease had worsened during or after first-line chemotherapy, tested whether adding the ramucirumab to the standard treatment would improve outcomes for these people.

The percentage of people who responded to treatment and the period of time before the disease worsened were both greater when ramucirumab was added to docetaxel vs. what was seen with docetaxel alone. In the study, 23% of people responded to the combination of ramucirumab and docetaxel, meaning that their tumors shrank more than a specific threshold used in clinical trials. Overall, the median survival was more than 10 months.
 
This content originally appeared online at UCLA Health.

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