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Tarceva Funded First Line for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Tarceva Funded First Line for Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

New Zealanders with a specific type of advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSLC) can now receive funded first line treatment with Tarceva, an anti-cancer medicine from Roche Products.

From 1 January 2014, Tarceva will be funded for the treatment of patients with advanced EGFR mutation-positive (EGFR+) NSCLC who have not previously received any treatment for their disease.1 Patients will only be eligible for funded Tarceva if their tissue samples test positive for the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation.

In New Zealand, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women. 2 EGFR mutations occur in approximately 10 to 20 percent of patients diagnosed with lung cancer.3 Tarceva works by preventing the activity of  the EGFR protein which is known to be involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells. In clinical studies, Tarceva was shown to slow disease progression in previously untreated patients with advanced EGFR+ NSCLC, more than chemotherapy. 4,5

Jan Campbell, Acting General Manager, Roche Products (New Zealand) Ltd says that the first line funding of Tarceva will provide clinicians with more options for treating EGFR+ advanced NSCLC. 

Tarceva Consumer Panel
Tarceva® (erlotinib), 150mg 100mg and 25mg tablets, is a Prescription Medicine used for the treatment of advanced or metastatic (spreading) non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).  Tarceva can be given as initial therapy if your cancer has specific mutations in a protein called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). It can also be given after previous treatment with chemotherapy. Do not use Tarceva if: you are allergic to erlotinib or any ingredients in Tarceva, the package is torn or shows signs of tampering, or the expiry date on the pack has passed. Tell your doctor if: you are pregnant or breast-feeding, or plan to become pregnant or breast-feed, you have liver or kidney problems, have had stomach ulcers or inflammation of the bowel wall, are a smoker, cannot tolerate lactose, or if you are taking any other medicines. Possible unwanted effects include: Common: rash, diarrhoea, cough, nausea or vomiting, dehydration, tiredness, loss of appetite or weight loss, itching, dry skin, acne, folliculitis (infection of hair follicles), eye irritation, nose bleeds, unusual hair loss or thinning, infection or swelling of your nails. Serious: shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; infection with fever or chills; pain, redness, swelling or sores in your mouth; stomach pain; numbness or weakness of your arms and legs; or depression. Tell your doctor immediately or go to your nearest Accident and Emergency Centre if you notice any of the following: severe or persistent diarrhoea, nausea, loss of appetite or vomiting; bleeding from the stomach or intestines; sudden onset or worsening of breathing difficulty associated with cough or fever; feeling generally unwell; itching, yellowing of the skin and eyes and dark coloured urine; blisters on the skin, especially in the nose, eyes and mouth; red or purple rash that spreads; or eye pain and/or inflammation. Ask your doctor if Tarceva is right for you. Use strictly as directed. If symptoms persist or if you have side effects or would like further information, please talk to your doctor or pharmacist or for Tarceva Consumer Medicine Information.
Tarceva (150mg and 100mg tablets) is a funded medicine for patients with NSCLC who meet pre- defined criteria. A prescription charge and normal doctors’ fees apply.
Consumer panel based on CMI dated 27 November 2013
Roche Products (New Zealand) Limited, Auckland. Phone: 0800 656 464.
All trademarks mentioned herein are protected by law.

1. Pharmac, Application for subsidy by Special Authority, SA1411 January 2014. Available at

2. Ministry of Health. 2012. Cancer: New registrations and deaths 2009. Wellington: Ministry of Health. Available from [Accessed on 11 September 2013].

3. Pao W, Miller VA. Epidermal growth factor receptor mutations, small-molecule kinase inhibitors, and non-small-cell lung cancer: current knowledge and future directions. J Clin Onc. 2005;23:2556-2568.

4. Zhou C, Wu Y-L, Chen G, et al. Erlotinib versus chemotherapy as first-line treatment for patients with advanced EGFR mutation-positive non-small-cell lung cancer (OPTIMAL, CTONG-0802): a multicentre, open-label, randomised, Phase 3 study. Lancet Oncol 2011;12:735-742.

5. Rosell R, Carcereny E, Gervais R, et al. Erlotinib versus standard chemotherapy as first-line treatment for European patients with advanced EGFR mutation-positive non-small-cell lung cancer (EURTAC): a multicentre, open-label, randomised Phase 3 trial [supplementary appendix appears online]. Lancet Oncol 2012;13:239-246.


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