Expert Point of View: Josep Tabernero, MD, PhD and Eric Van Cutsem, MD, PhD

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At the European Cancer Congress (ECC), Josep Tabernero, MD, PhD, Head of the Medical Oncology Department at Vall d’Hebron University in Barcelona, Spain, noted that the ASPECCT study asks a “reasonable question about the efficacy and safety of the two clinically approved anti-EGFR antibodies” and “may be the setting to provide an important amount of clinical and translational information.

“ASPECCT showed that the results are completely comparable in terms of response rate, progression-free survival, and overall survival in the chemorefractory setting,” he said, but he cautioned that the findings should not be applied to other treatment settings or other tumors, where the agents have not been shown equally effective.

Eric Van Cutsem, MD, PhD, Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Leuven in Belgium, also commented. “There is probably not a big difference between these agents in the different markers we have seen. In the head-to-head trial presented here at ECC 2013, we saw no difference. We know that preclinically, cetuximab has shown some antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity, but we don’t know the contribution of this. Looking at the activity of these drugs, I think they are very similar and can be interchanged in this setting.” ■

Disclosure: Dr. Van Cutsem has received research funding paid to his institution by Amgen, Merck Serono, and Roche. Dr. Tabernero has served in an advisory role for Amgen, Genentech, Merck Serono, and Roche.

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