For the first time in a decade, an experimental drug has extended the life of patients with advanced lung cancer who relapsed after standard chemotherapy. But the benefit in the study was so small — six extra weeks, on average — that it is raising fresh questions about the value of some costly new cancer medicines.
Eli Lilly and Company’s drug Cyramza was tested in more than 1,200 patients. It is sold now for stomach cancer and costs $6,000 per infusion.
The study was discussed Saturday at a cancer conference where doctors also reported progress with new drugs against relapsed ovarian cancer and chronic lymphocytic leukemia, the most common type of leukemia in adults.