Lung Cancer Dispatch
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Biomarkers Accurately Distinguish Mesothelioma from Non-Cancerous Tissue

Biomarkers Accurately Distinguish Mesothelioma from Non-Cancerous Tissue | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Scientists have identified four biomarkers that may help resolve the difficult differential diagnosis between malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) and non-cancerous pleural tissue with reactive mesothelial proliferations (RMPs). This is a frequent differential diagnostic problem in pleural biopsy samples taken from patients with clinical suspicion of MPM. The ability to make more accurate diagnoses earlier may facilitate improved patient outcomes. This new study appears in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics."


Editor's note: Diagnosis of cancer is not always straightforward. New techniques allow doctors to use the molecular/genetic characteristics of a tumor to more quickly and accurately diagnose cancer. In the research described here, scientists identified new molecular characteristics ("biomarkers") that could be used to help identify mesothelioma tumors.

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Medical Xpress  |  Jun 6, 2014

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Development of Diagnostic Tests for Targeted Therapies Faces Multiple Challenges

Targeted therapies are treatments aimed at specific biomarkers, such as genetic mutations, or overexpressed proteins. Tests that detect the targeted biomarker are needed to determine whether a patient would benefit from the treatment. The FDA offers an approval pathway for such tests, so-called “companion diagnostics” (CoDx), which requires that the test be evaluated alongside the drug in clinical trials. However, testing laboratories can also develop their own tests. These “laboratory-developed tests” (LDTs) are not currently regulated by the FDA. Development of LDTs is therefore much cheaper and faster (making CoDx comparatively less economically viable), but provides less evidence that these tests are indeed effective. Moreover, LDTs can be designed to test for many different biomarkers, thus making more efficient use of limited biopsy tissue, while CoDx usually only test for the one biomarker relevant for their companion drug. A recent article calls for test developers, pharmaceutical companies, insurers, and the FDA to collaborate in resolving these issues.

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ScienceDaily  |  Feb 12, 2014

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ScienceDaily  |  Feb 12, 2014

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ScienceDaily  |  Feb 12, 2014

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A Catalog of Cancer Genes That’s Done, or Just a Start

A Catalog of Cancer Genes That’s Done, or Just a Start | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Cancer is a disease of genes gone wrong. When certain genes mutate, they make cells behave in odd ways. The cells divide swiftly, they hide from the immune system that could kill them, and they gain the nourishment they need to develop into tumors.


"Scientists started identifying these cancer genes in the 1970s and their list slowly grew over the years. By studying them, scientists came to understand how different types of cancer develop and, in some cases, they were even able to develop gene-targeting drugs. Last May, for example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a drug known as Tarceva to treat lung cancer in which a gene called EGFR has mutated."

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The New York Times  |  Feb 6, 2014

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The New York Times  |  Feb 6, 2014

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The New York Times  |  Feb 6, 2014

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Local Radiotherapy May Allow Lung Cancer Patients to Stay on Xalkori Longer

Local Radiotherapy May Allow Lung Cancer Patients to Stay on Xalkori Longer | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Crizotinib (Xalkori) is effective for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have a mutation in the ALK gene, but their cancer usually develops resistance to the drug. However, this resistance may affect only part of the cancer, while the majority of the disease still responds to Xalkori. In such cases, localized radiation may be used to destroy the resistant part of the cancer (a technique dubbed 'weeding the garden') while patients continue to take Xalkori. In a small study, patients treated with this method could take Xalkori almost three times longer than those not eligible for the treatment. Longer times on Xalkori were associated with higher rates of 2-year survival. The average time without further relapse after the first radiation treatment was 5.5 months, and patients could be treated multiple times. Similar approaches may be effective with other targeted therapies.

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Medical Xpress  |  Jan 28, 2014

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Interim Results from Lung Cancer Clinical Trial of Tivantinib Remain Ambiguous

Interim Results from Lung Cancer Clinical Trial of Tivantinib Remain Ambiguous | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

An ongoing clinical trial is evaluating the effects of cancer drug tivantinib in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The trial studies patients with advanced non-squamous NSCLC who do not have any mutations in the EGFR gene. Patients receive erlotinib (Tarceva) either by itself or in combination with tivantinib. Enrollment in the trial was stopped because rates of interstitial lung disease (ILD), which can cause lung scarring, may be higher in patients receiving tivantinib. (No such increased levels of ILD were seen in a different trial using tivantinib.) For the patients already enrolled, overall survival, time without cancer worsening, and percentage of patients experiencing tumor shrinkage all seem increased in tivantinib-treated patients. However, it is not yet clear whether these effects are indeed caused by tivantinib or are due to chance.

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MarketWatch  |  Jan 16, 2014

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Xalkori More Effective than Chemotherapy As Second-Line Treatment in ALK+ Lung Cancer

Xalkori More Effective than Chemotherapy As Second-Line Treatment in ALK+ Lung Cancer | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

The ALK inhibitor crizotinib (Xalkori) has shown effectiveness in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have changes in the ALK gene that make the gene overactive (so-called 'ALK-positive' patients). A recent clinical trial compared Xalkori to chemotherapy as a second-line treatment in these patients. Over 300 patients with ALK-positive advanced NSCLC who had undergone one previous round of chemotherapy were treated either with Xalkori or one of the chemotherapy drugs pemetrexed (Alimta) or docetaxel (Taxotere). Tumors shrank in 65% of Xalkori-treated patients, compared to 20% of those receiving chemotherapy. The Xalkori-treated patients also went longer without their cancer worsening, experienced fewer symptoms, and reported higher quality of life.

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Medical Xpress  |  Jan 13, 2014

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Biomarker May Predict Best Response to Lung Cancer Drug MK-3475

Biomarker May Predict Best Response to Lung Cancer Drug MK-3475 | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

An early clinical trial of the drug MK-3475 in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has yielded promising results. MK-3475 targets PD-1, a protein on the surface of immune cells. Another protein, PD-L1, is present on many tumor cells and can bind to PD-1, which deactivates immune cells. MK-3475 blocks PD-1, allowing the immune cells to keep attacking cancer cells. Patients with advanced NSCLC who had failed at least two other treatments were given MK-3475. Tumors shrank in 24% of the patients overall. However, tumor shrinkage occurred in 67% of patients with high levels of PD-L1 on their tumors, compared to only 9% of others. PD-L1 levels may therefore help predict which patients will likely respond to MK-3475.

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Medical Xpress  |  Jan 8, 2014

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Rash from Tarceva May Herald Drug Effectiveness

Rash from Tarceva May Herald Drug Effectiveness | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Skin rash is a common side effect of the lung cancer drug erlotinib (Tarceva). However, a clinical trial suggests that this rash can be a good sign and can be used to guide dosing. One hundred twenty-four patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) received first-line treatment with Tarceva. The drug dose was gradually increased until patients developed a skin rash or other side effects that prevented further dose increases. Seventy percent of patients developed a skin rash. Patients who developed a skin rash survived longer than those who did not (6.8 months longer on average), even though they did not differ in how much the treatment reduced the growth of their tumors.

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News-Medical.Net  |  Dec 16, 2013

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FDA Grants Regular Approval to Xalkori for Treatment of ALK-Mutant Lung Cancer

FDA Grants Regular Approval to Xalkori for Treatment of ALK-Mutant Lung Cancer | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted regular approval to the drug crizotinib (Xalkori) for the treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in patients who have mutations in the ALK gene. Xalkori received accelerated approval for this application in August 2011. Regular approval was awarded based on the results of a study examining patients with advanced NSCLC whose cancer had progressed despite first-line chemotherapy. Patients treated with Xalkori went an average of 7.7 months without further cancer worsening, compared to 3.0 months in those receiving the chemotherapy agents pemetrexed (Alimta) or docetaxel (Taxotere). Tumors shrank in 65% of the Xalkori-treated patients, compared to 20% with Alimta or Taxotere. However, overall survival did not differ between the Xalkori group and the chemotherapy group.

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ASCO Post  |  Nov 21, 2013

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New Compound Targets Previously 'Undruggable' Cancer-Driving Mutation in KRAS Gene

New Compound Targets Previously 'Undruggable' Cancer-Driving Mutation in KRAS Gene | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Mutations in the KRAS gene are the most common cancer-driving mutations in all cancers; they occur in 20% of lung cancers and 40% of colon cancers. KRAS-mutant cancers are aggressive and do not respond well to current treatments. Although the importance of KRAS mutations in cancer has been known for over 30 years, scientists have so far not succeeded in developing a drug targeting them. Now researchers have located a previously undetected 'pocket' on a certain mutated form of the KRAS protein. The mutation, called KRAS(G12C), occurs in 7% of lung cancer and 9% of colorectal cancer patients. The researchers then created molecules that bind to the 'pocket' and inhibit the mutant KRAS, but not normal KRAS protein. They hope to develop these compounds into drugs against KRAS-mutant cancers.

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Medical Xpress  |  Nov 20, 2013

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Medical Xpress  |  Nov 20, 2013

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Genetic Testing Increases Survival in Lung Cancer

Genetic Testing Increases Survival in Lung Cancer | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Lung cancer patients who undergo genetic testing to guide personalize treatment survive longer on average than those who do not. A study analyzing outcomes in thousands of lung cancer cases found that patients who received genetic testing survived an average of 31.6 months, compared with 15.1 for untested patients. Fifty-five percent of tested patients had mutations that could potentially be treated with targeted therapies. Notably, the genetic profiles of lung tumors did not cluster according to traditional lung cancer subtypes (eg, adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, small cell lung cancer, etc.), and mutations associated with one subtype were sometimes also detected in other subtypes. Genetic testing is therefore likely to be valuable for all lung cancer patients, regardless of subtype.

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Medpage Today | Nov 5, 2013

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Gilotrif Shows Effectiveness in Various Patient Populations with EGFR-Mutant Lung Cancer

Afatinib (Gilotrif) is a new lung cancer drug for people with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have mutations in the EGFR gene. The LUX-Lung 3 clinical trial demonstrated that Gilotrif is superior to chemotherapy as first-line treatment in a global population of patients with EGFR-mutant NSCLC. The LUX-Lung 6 trial confirmed these findings specifically in an Asian population; Asia has a three times higher rate of EGFR-mutant NSCLC than Western countries. More recent evidence indicates that Gilotrif is as effective in patients with rare EGFR mutations as it is in those with common mutations. Finally, Gilotrif recently showed effectiveness in NSCLC patients whose cancer had spread to the brain.

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Moneylife | Oct 28, 2013

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Immune System Marker May Help Diagnose Lung Cancer and Predict Outcomes

Immune System Marker May Help Diagnose Lung Cancer and Predict Outcomes | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

A recent study found that the complement system, a part of the body's immune response, is activated in lung tumors. Levels of C4d, a breakdown product of the complement system, were elevated in tissue and fluid samples from lung cancer patients. C4d elevation was specific for lung cancer and was not observed in patients with non-cancer lung diseases. More advanced lung cancer was associated with higher C4d levels, but even early-stage lung cancer patients had elevated Cd4 levels. Moreover, higher C4d levels in tumor tissue and blood were associated with shorter survival, even after controlling for cancer stage. C4d blood levels fell after surgical removal of lung tumors. C4d may therefore help diagnose lung cancer, predict outcomes, and monitor response to lung cancer treatment.

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Medwire News | Oct 28, 2013

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Team Identifies Novel Biomarker for Head and Neck Cancer, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Team Identifies Novel Biomarker for Head and Neck Cancer, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

"A team led by a scientist from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has identified a new biomarker linked to better outcomes of patients with head and neck cancers and non-small cell lung cancer. The work could help scientists develop new diagnostics and therapies and help physicians determine the best long-term treatments for patients with these cancers.


"The findings, which were published this week online ahead of print by the journal Cancer, focus on a protein called Choline phosphate cytidylyltransferase-α CCT-α or CCTα, an 'antigen' that prompts the immune system to produce antibodies against it."

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The Scripps Research Institute  |  Apr 2, 2014

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Clinical Trial Success Influenced by Biomarker- and Receptor-Targeted Therapies in NSCLC

Clinical Trial Success Influenced by Biomarker- and Receptor-Targeted Therapies in NSCLC | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it
Over the past decade, a great clinical focus has been directed at developing new and innovative therapies for advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). An analysis of clinical trials evaluating these therapies demonstrates that the cumulative success rate for new agents for advanced NSCLC is lower than the industry-estimated rate. However, biomarker- and receptor-targeted therapies were found to substantially increase clinical trial success.
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ScienceDaily  |  Feb 14, 2014

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New Targeted Drugs May Offer Treatment for KRAS-Mutant Lung Cancer

New Targeted Drugs May Offer Treatment for KRAS-Mutant Lung Cancer | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Abnormalities in the KRAS gene are the most common mutations in lung cancer, especially in lung adenocarcinoma, a type of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, no effective targeted therapy directed at KRAS has been found. Instead, researchers have begun to focus on blocking molecules 'downstream' in the chain of chemical reactions through which KRAS affects the cell. Two such molecules are TBK1 and MEK. A recent study found that the drug CYT387 blocks TBK1. CYT387 reduced tumor growth in mice with KRAS-mutant lung adenocarcinoma. Also in mice, CYT387 and the MEK inhibitor AZD6244, given together, shrank aggressive lung tumors with mutations in both the KRAS and the TP53 gene. Researchers now hope to investigate the two drugs in people.

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ASCO Post  |  Jan 29, 2014

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Pfizer Cancer Drug Fails in Two Late Stage Studies

In a recent phase III clinical trial, the cancer drug dacomitinib was no more effective than a placebo at prolonging survival for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) for whom standard therapy had failed. Like the targeted drugs erlotinib (Tarceva) and gefitinib (Iressa), dacomitinib blocks the protein EGFR, but it also inhibits a number of similar, related proteins. Another trial compared dacomitinib to Tarceva in NSCLC patients who had previously received at least one EGFR inhibitor. Dacomitinib did not increase time without cancer worsening compared to Tarceva. Results from a third phase III trial, which compares dacomitinib to Iressa in NSCLC patients with EGFR mutations, are expected next year.

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Bloomberg Businessweek  |  Jan 27, 2014

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Cancer Drug Tafinlar Receives Breakthrough Therapy Designation for Lung Cancer

Cancer Drug Tafinlar Receives Breakthrough Therapy Designation for Lung Cancer | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

The application for dabrafenib (Tafinlar) as a treatment for certain lung cancer cases has been given a boost with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) designating it a breakthrough therapy. Tafinlar is being investigated as a therapy for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have a mutation called BRAF V600E in the BRAF gene and have received at least one previous round of chemotherapy. In a recent clinical trial, Tafinlar exhibited antitumor activity in such patients. The breakthrough therapy designation provides increased drug development guidance from the FDA and accelerated approval for drugs that treat serious or life-threatening conditions and that provide a substantial improvement over currently available treatments. Tafinlar is already approved for use in certain types of skin cancer.

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ASCO Post  |  Jan 13, 2014

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Clinical Trial to Examine Effectiveness of Lung Cancer Vaccine TG4010 in Select Patients

A new clinical trial will examine the effectiveness of the lung cancer drug TG4010. TG4010 acts like a vaccine: it sensitizes the immune system to MUC1, a protein expressed in high levels on many lung tumor cells, and thus primes the immune system to attack these cancer cells. A previous trial suggested that TG4010 is most likely to be effective in patients with low levels of a certain kind of immune cell called triple-positive activated lymphocytes or TrPAL. In the new trial, patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors express high levels of MUC1 and who have low levels of TrPAL will receive either TG4010 or a placebo along with their standard treatment.

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Bloomberg  |  Jan 8, 2014

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Novel Immune-Based Cancer Drug Imprime PGG Appears Effective in Certain Lung Cancer Patients

Novel Immune-Based Cancer Drug Imprime PGG Appears Effective in Certain Lung Cancer Patients | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Adding the drug Imprime PGG to chemotherapy and antibody therapy may be effective for certain patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Imprime PGG contains a molecule called beta glucan, which can stimulate the body’s immune cells to destroy cancer cells. This process may be especially effective in patients with high levels of immune system proteins that bind to beta glucan, so-called antibeta glucan antibodies. In a recent clinical trial, patients with advanced NSCLC received the antibody drug cetuximab (Erbitux) and the chemotherapy agents carboplatin (Paraplatin) and paclitaxel (Taxol/Abraxane), and some were also given Imprime PGG. While survival across all patients was not affected by Imprime PGG treatment, it was increased in Imprime PGG-treated patients with high levels of antibeta glucan antibodies. Seventeen percent of these patients survived 3 years or more, while none of the other patient groups did.

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Medical Xpress  |  Jan 8, 2014

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Inflammation Markers Offer Clue About Lung Cancer Risk

Inflammation Markers Offer Clue About Lung Cancer Risk | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Increased inflammation may be a warning of elevated lung cancer risk. A recent study analyzed blood samples taken from over 1,000 patients getting screened for lung cancer. Half of the patients went on to develop lung cancer in the following years. Eleven chemical markers of inflammation in the patients’ blood were associated with an increased risk of developing lung cancer. The researchers developed an inflammation score based on the levels of four of these inflammation markers. Patients with the highest inflammation score were 2.8 times more likely to develop lung cancer than those with the lowest score (3.4 times more likely if the patients were current smokers). This inflammation score may therefore serve to identify high-risk patients in the future.

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ASCO Post  |  Dec 9, 2013

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Biomarker May Allow Blood Test for Brain Metastases in Lung Cancer Patients

Testing for a biomarker in lung cancer patients’ blood could indicate whether they have brain metastases (cancer spread to the brain). S100B, a protein found in the brain, is usually kept separate from the rest of the body by the so-called blood-brain barrier (BBB). Brain metastases weaken the BBB, allowing S100B to enter the bloodstream. In a recent study, researchers were able to identify 89% of patients with brain metastases by measuring the S100B blood levels of lung cancer patients, although the test also produced a number of false alarms. A blood test for brain metastases would likely be much cheaper than the brain scans currently used.

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Medscape   |   Nov 20, 2013

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New Clinical Trial Will Study Novel Lung Cancer Drug Vantictumab

New Clinical Trial Will Study Novel Lung Cancer Drug Vantictumab | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

A new clinical trial will investigate the safety of vantictumab (OMP-18R5), a new lung cancer drug targeting cancer stem cells (CSCs). CSCs, the actively multiplying cells responsible for generating tumors, are thought to be central in cancer relapse by 'repopulating' tumors, even if the bulk of the tumors cells are destroyed during treatment. Vantictumab blocks the Wnt pathway, a key molecular signaling pathway used by CSCs. Patients with previously treated advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) will receive vantictumab in combination with the chemotherapy agent docetaxel (Taxotere). In addition to the safety of the drug combination, the trial will also investigate how effective it is and whether any biomarkers predict how well patients respond.

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MarketWatch  |  Nov 15, 2013

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Stronger Case for Targeted Therapies Against Lung Cancer

New research provides compelling evidence that targeted treatments benefit people with lung cancer. Researchers at 14 U.S. centers found that of nearly 1,000 people with lung cancers who were tested for 10 genetic abnormalities, 63% had an abnormality and 23% of these were treated with the appropriate targeted therapy. Those who received targeted treatments lived 1.5 times longer than those who did not (a median of 3.5 vs 2.4 years, respectively). People with ALK abnormalities lived longest at 4.3 years; followed by those with sensitizing EGFR mutations at 4.0 years; other EGFR mutations at 3.3 years; and KRAS mutations at 2.4 years. These findings were presented at the 2013 World Conference on Lung Cancer.

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Medscape│Oct 30, 2013

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Early Evidence Supports CO-1686 as a Treatment Option in Drug-Resistant EGFR-Mutant Lung Cancer

Early Evidence Supports CO-1686 as a Treatment Option in Drug-Resistant EGFR-Mutant Lung Cancer | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Drugs known as EGFR inhibitors—such as erlotinib (Tarceva), gefitinib (Iressa), and afatinib (Gilotrif)—are very effective in treating non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with mutations in the EGFR gene. However, patients eventually develop drug resistance, usually caused by new EGFR mutations. T790M is the most common EGFR drug resistance mutation. CO-1686 is a novel drug that inhibits EGFR with the T790M mutation, as well as other mutant EGFR. A small study showed that eight of nine patients who had the T790M resistance mutation experienced more than 10% tumor shrinkage when treated with CO-1686. And, a new formulation of CO-1686 has been found to produce higher, more consistent, well-tolerated drug concentrations in patients.

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Yahoo! Finance | Oct 27, 2013

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