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UK Health Authority Releases List of Recommended Tests for EGFR Mutation

UK Health Authority Releases List of Recommended Tests for EGFR Mutation | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

The UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has released a guidance document specifying which tests it recommends for detecting mutations of the EGFR gene in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. Patients with EGFR mutations usually benefit more from treatment with EGFR inhibitors rather than traditional chemotherapy, while these drugs are less effective in patients without such mutations. Accurate detection of EGFR mutations is therefore very important. NICE recommends the therascreen EGFR RGQ PCR Kit, the cobas EGFR mutation test, Sanger sequencing of samples, or combined approaches that use Sanger sequencing for samples with more than 30% tumor cells, and one of the two other tests for samples with lower tumor cell density.

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National Institute for Health and Care Excellence | Aug 13, 2013

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Breast Cancer Drugs May Also Be Effective Against Some Lung Cancers

Breast Cancer Drugs May Also Be Effective Against Some Lung Cancers | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

A class of drugs already in clinical trials for breast and ovarian cancer, so-called PARP inhibitors, may also be effective against some forms of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Around half of all NSCLC tumors have low levels of ERCC1, a protein that helps repair damaged DNA. PARP inhibitors act by blocking a different DNA repair mechanism. This creates a one-two punch that kills the NSCLC tumor cells that are low in ERCC1, while healthy cells remain relatively unharmed. A recent cell culture study showed that PARP inhibitors like olaparib, niraparib, and BMN 673 killed ERCC1-deficient NSCLC cells, but not cells with normal ERCC1 levels.

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Cancer Research UK | Aug 12, 2013

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Indirect Approach May Finally Make Inhibition of Cancer Gene KRAS Possible

Indirect Approach May Finally Make Inhibition of Cancer Gene KRAS Possible | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

The KRAS gene is mutated in one-third of tumors and its importance in promoting the growth of cancer cells has been known for decades. However, efforts to develop a KRAS inhibitor have so far been unsuccessful. Now, researchers may have found a way to suppress KRAS indirectly using a drug called deltarasin. To function properly, KRAS needs to be attached to the cell's membrane, a process aided by the transport protein PDE-δ. Deltarasin blocks PDE-δ, preventing KRAS from anchoring to the cell membrane. A recent study showed that deltarasin reduced the growth of KRAS-mutant tumor cells both in cell culture and in a mouse model of pancreatic cancer.

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Medical Xpress | Aug 9, 2013

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Tissue Analysis May Help Predict Risk of Early-Stage Lung Cancer Returning

Tissue Analysis May Help Predict Risk of Early-Stage Lung Cancer Returning | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

The tissue types present in early-stage lung adenocarcinomas, a type of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), may help predict the chances of the cancer returning after surgery. A retrospective study examined outcomes among adenocarcinoma patients whose tumors were 2 cm in diameter or smaller. Patients whose tumors contained 5% or more of a so-called 'micropapillary' tissue structure had a higher risk of the cancer returning if they had just the tumor removed. This difference was not found in patients who underwent lobectomy (removal of an entire subsection of lung). The higher risk of recurrence in patients with 5%-plus micropapillary tissue in their tumor may make them better candidates for the more invasive lobectomy procedure.

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MedPage Today | Aug 7, 2013

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Steroid Treatment May Improve Cancer-Related Fatigue

Fatigue is a common and often debilitating symptom for people with advanced cancer. A recent clinical trial found that the steroid dexamethasone reduced fatigue in cancer patients who took it for 14 days. Other related symptoms, such as pain and loss of appetite, also improved, as did overall quality of life. However, in a recent survey, only one-quarter to one-third of cancer physicians said that they regularly use steroids to manage cancer-related fatigue. Because steroids can have serious side effects with long-term use, they may be most useful for patients with limited life expectancies or whose fatigue can be expected to resolve after short-term treatment.

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Medscape | Aug 2, 2013

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Medscape | Aug 2, 2013

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New Clinical Trial Investigates Novel Lung Cancer 'Nanomedicine'

New Clinical Trial Investigates Novel Lung Cancer 'Nanomedicine' | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

A new phase II clinical trial is investigating the new cancer drug BIND-014 as a second-line treatment for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). BIND-014 is part of a group of 'nanoengineered' drugs called Accurins, which consist of: 1) targeting particles that direct them preferentially to the disease site–in the case of BIND-014, these particles bind to PSMA, a protein expressed on cancer cells; 2) a 'stealth layer' protecting them from the body's immune system; 3) a controlled-release structure ensuring that the 'payload' is released at the optimal rate; and 4) the drug's actual payload–in the case of BIND-014, the chemotherapy agent docetaxel (Taxotere). Accurins are designed to maximize the drug concentration delivered to the tumor, while minimizing toxicity to healthy tissues.

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Boston.com | Jul 29, 2013

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Advances in Immunotherapy Brighten Prospects for People with Cancer

Advances in Immunotherapy Brighten Prospects for People with Cancer | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

The enthusiasm for anticancer immunotherapies continues to build, with two treatments already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and clinical trials underway for a variety of promising new candidates. The latest approaches include targeting a protein called PD-L1, which shields tumor cells from immune system attacks. In a phase I clinical trial of a PD-L1 blocker made by MedImmune, early results suggest that this treatment shrinks melanomas as well as kidney, lung, and colon tumors. Next, the researchers hope to open this trial to people with head and neck cancers as well. Another approach entails adding the gene for an immune system booster (interferon beta) to a therapeutic virus (vesicular stomatitis virus) that kills cancer cells, but not normal ones. This treatment is being tested on liver cancer in a phase I trial and early results are encouraging.

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The Miami Herald│Jul 26, 2013

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Funding Strategy Needed to Support EGFR Mutation Testing in Canada

Funding Strategy Needed to Support EGFR Mutation Testing in Canada | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Funding represents a decisive barrier to the nationwide implementation of genetic testing for a key lung cancer mutation in Canada, a recent study finds. Patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have a mutation in the EGFR gene frequently benefit from treatment with EGFR inhibitors. AstraZeneca, makers of the EGFR inhibitor gefinitinb (Iressa), reimbursed Canadian laboratories for offering EGFR mutation testing to patients with advanced non-squamous NSCLC for 12 months. EGFR mutation testing was rapidly adopted into routine clinical practice in Canada. However, testing rates dropped sharply once the reimbursement program ended. Researchers conclude that a national strategy is needed to provide resources for continued EGFR testing.

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Medical Xpress | Jul 25, 2013

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Particulate Matter Air Pollution Contributes to Increased Risk of Lung Cancer in Europe

Ambient air pollution has been associated with lung cancer risk. In a study reported in Lancet Oncology by Ole Raaschou-Nielsen, PhD, of the Danish Cancer Society Research Center, and colleagues, lung cancer incidence in European countries was prospectively assessed according to several measures of air pollution exposure. The study showed that particulate matter air pollution contributes to risk of lung cancer, particularly adenocarcinoma.

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The ASCO Post. Jul 29, 2013.

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Diagnostics Company Ready to Patent Test for Squamous Cell Lung Cancer

Diagnostics Company Ready to Patent Test for Squamous Cell Lung Cancer | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

The molecular diagnostics company Rosetta Genomics has received permission to patent their Rosetta Lung Cancer Test. The test analyzes lung tumor tissue and distinguishes squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) from other types of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Clearly identifying a patient's cancer subtype is becoming increasingly important for choosing an optimal treatment plan, thanks to the increasing role of targeted therapies and the growing understanding of how drug effects can differ among various cancer subtypes. For example, pemetrexed (Alimta) and bevacizumab (Avastin) benefit many NSCLC patients, but are not recommended for those with SCC. The patent allowance will permit Rosetta to develop their test for use in patients.

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Yahoo! Finance | Jul 25, 2013

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Pretreatment Interventions May Optimize Outcomes for Cancer Patients

Pretreatment Interventions May Optimize Outcomes for Cancer Patients | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Interventions given between the time of initial cancer diagnosis and the start of acute cancer treatment—so-called 'prehabilitation'—may improve health outcomes for cancer patients, a review of related studies argues. These interventions can include general physical conditioning, such as aerobic exercise to build strength; specific physical interventions, such as pelvic strengthening exercises before prostate cancer surgery or help quitting smoking before lung cancer treatment; and psychological support. In a number of studies, prehabilitation was shown to reduce treatment complication rates, lead to shorter hospital stays and/or fewer readmissions, improve mental health outcomes, lower health care costs, and make some patients eligible for additional treatment options.

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Medical News Today | Jul 23, 2013

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Medical News Today | Jul 23, 2013

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'Cold Caps' May Save Cancer Patients' Hair During Chemotherapy

'Cold Caps' May Save Cancer Patients' Hair During Chemotherapy | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

To minimize hair loss during chemotherapy, some patients chill their scalps using specialized caps. The low temperatures are supposed to decrease blood flow in the scalp, preventing chemotherapy drugs from reaching the hair roots and damaging them. However, it is still unclear how well these 'cold caps' work and whether they are safe, and so far they have not been approved by the FDA for use in the U.S. Theoretically, shielding some areas of the body from chemotherapy might allow some cancer cells to survive the treatment, although the scalp is an uncommon site for cancer recurrence. An upcoming study at several U.S. hospitals will investigate the effectiveness and safety of cold caps to prevent chemotherapy hair loss.

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Associated Press | Jul 22, 2013

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Associated Press | Jul 22, 2013

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Myc-Driven Tumors Could Be Next for Targeted Therapies

Myc-Driven Tumors Could Be Next for Targeted Therapies | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Scientists have made a breakthrough in inhibiting the tumor-driving protein Myc, which previously had been impossible to target with drugs. Myc drives cells toward uncontrolled growth in tumors and is involved in many of the most serious forms of cancer including breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, brain cancer, prostate cancer, and blood cancer. Scientists have found that one drug that indirectly targets myc slows tumor growth in a mouse model of myc-driven cancer. The key to the breakthrough was recognizing that myc relies partially on MTOR, another protein, for its protein supply. By targeting MTOR, the drug keeps Myc from promoting tumor growth. The drug, called MLN0128, is already in clinical trials for a variety of cancers, but this is the first time it has been viewed as a tool to treat Myc-driven cancer. The researchers said that other indirect targeted therapy drugs are already being tested in human studies to treat Myc-driven tumors.

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Science Daily | Jul 19, 2013

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Science Daily | Jul 19, 2013

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Science Daily | Jul 19, 2013

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EGFR Antibody Increases Survival in Lung Cancer Trial

EGFR Antibody Increases Survival in Lung Cancer Trial | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

The new cancer drug necitumumab increased survival in the SQUIRE clinical trial, a phase III trial examining squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).  Patients with stage IV squamous NSCLC who received necitumumab in addition to the chemotherapy agents cisplatin (Platinol) and gemcitabine (Gemzar) survived longer than those treated with chemotherapy alone. Necitumumab is an antibody (a type of immune system protein) that blocks the function of EGFR, a protein that plays an important role in the survival, spread, and blood supply of tumors.

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Wall Street Journal | Aug 13, 2013

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Should Clinical Trial Requirements Be Relaxed for Certain Cancer Drugs?

Should Clinical Trial Requirements Be Relaxed for Certain Cancer Drugs? | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Broadly speaking, clinical trials are designed to demonstrate that a drug is safe (phase I), effective (phase II), and better than existing treatments (phase III). However, some drugs already show strong signs of superior effectiveness in phase I and II. A recent article argues for waiving the phase III trial requirement for such drugs, particularly for targeted cancer treatments directed at specific genetic mutations. This would save the enormous costs of these trials and avoid the possibility of the control groups in such trials possibly receiving less effective treatments. On the other hand, eliminating phase III trials would mean that a drug’s long-term effects would not be systematically investigated.

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Medical News Today | Aug 12, 2013

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Medical News Today | Aug 12, 2013

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Gene Variations May Help Predict Response to Lung Cancer Treatment

Gene Variations May Help Predict Response to Lung Cancer Treatment | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Researchers have discovered genetic variations that may predict risk of death and help direct treatment for lung cancer patients. The researchers analyzed the DNA of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), looking for variations associated with survival. Four of the variants they identified were located on the same gene, called TNFRSF10B. Patients with these genetic variants had up to a 41% higher chance of death, especially if they were treated with surgery only. In contrast, if these patients received chemotherapy after surgery, their risk of death was not increased. The genetic variants may therefore be useful biomarkers for guiding treatment decisions.

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Medical Xpress | Aug 9, 2013

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Cancer Patients Want to Be More Involved in Treatment Decisions

Cancer Patients Want to Be More Involved in Treatment Decisions | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Some cancer patients feel that they do not have enough say in their treatment decisions, a recent survey from the UK reveals. While 70% of respondents felt satisfied with their level of involvement, patients with certain rarer cancer types expressed a wish for more participation in treatment decisions, including those with rectal, ovarian, multiple myeloma, and bladder cancers. The desire for greater involvement was also more common in younger patients and ethnic minorities. While the survey was performed in the UK, similar issues are likely to affect patients in other countries, including the U.S. Several U.S. states have recently introduced legislation to support shared medical decision-making.

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Medical Xpress | Aug 6, 2013

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Trial of New Lung Cancer Drug OGX-427 Now Enrolling Participants

Trial of New Lung Cancer Drug OGX-427 Now Enrolling Participants | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

The Spruce trial, a phase II clinical trial examining the effectiveness of the cancer drug OGX-427 in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), is now open for enrollment. The trial will study patients with previously untreated, advanced non-squamous NSCLC. They will receive the chemotherapy agents carboplatin (Paraplatin) and pemetrexed (Alimta) in combination with either OGX-427 or a placebo. The sponsors also plan to add the Cedar trial, which will investigate the use of OGX-427 in squamous cell NSCLC. OGX-427 inhibits Hsp27, a protein that is highly expressed in many tumor cells. The drug may be especially promising for patients without mutations that make them eligible for currently available targeted therapies.


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MarketWatch | Aug 1, 2013

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Maintenance Therapy with Avastin-Alimta Combination Appears Effective in Advanced NSCLC

Maintenance Therapy with Avastin-Alimta Combination Appears Effective in Advanced NSCLC | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Maintenance therapy with bevacizumab (Avastin) and pemetrexed (Alimta) showed promising effects in the AVAPERL phase III clinical trial. Patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) were first treated with Avastin, Alimta, and cisplatin (Platinol). Those who responded to the treatment were either continued on both Avastin and Alimta or on Avastin only. Patients maintained on both drugs experienced more serious side effects, but went for longer without their cancer progressing (7.4 months on average, compared to 3.7 months for Avastin-only patients). While the study did not examine the benefits of Alimta-only maintenance treatment, the results suggest that the Avastin-Alimta combination is preferable to maintenance on Avastin only.

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Healio | Jul 26, 2013

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New Molecular Target May Lead to Cancer Drugs that Suffocate Tumors

New Molecular Target May Lead to Cancer Drugs that Suffocate Tumors | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Researchers have identified a compound that may cut off tumors' oxygen supply. Because they grow so rapidly, tumors eventually outgrow the ability of the surrounding blood vessels to transport enough oxygen and nutrients to them. In response to low oxygen levels, tumors trigger the formation of new blood vessels to keep them supplied. Now, scientists have discovered a protein, HIF-1, that acts as a 'master switch' that turns on hundreds of other genes involved in forming these new blood vessels. They then identified a new compound called cyclo-CLLFVY that blocked HIF-1 in cultured cancer cells. Researchers now hope to develop cyclo-CLLFVY into a drug that can prevent tumors from getting the oxygen they need to survive.

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Cancer Research UK | Jul 26, 2013

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The ASCO Post

The ASCO Post | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force posted its final evidence report and draft recommendation statement on screening for lung cancer. Based on the available evidence, the Task Force recommends screening people who are at high risk for lung cancer with annual low-dose CT (computed tomography) scans, which can prevent a substantial number of lung cancer-related deaths. This is a grade B draft recommendation.


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The ASCO Post. Jul 29, 2013.

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Safer, Peptide-Based Therapies Studied as Alternative to Monoclonal Antibodies

Safer, Peptide-Based Therapies Studied as Alternative to Monoclonal Antibodies | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Monoclonal antibodies and small-molecule inhibitors have been the primary treatment methods for many types of cancer for many years, but new studies may change that. Peptides, proteins made of small chains of 10 to 50 amino acids, are being examined as possible cost-effective, more successful, safer anticancer vaccines. Researchers have identified two regions on the HER1 (also known as the EGFR) protein as possible targets for these peptide-based drugs. These agents could be used in the treatment of lung cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and head and neck cancers. If successful, the EGFR-targeting peptide vaccines could be combined with immunotherapies for the HER2 and VEGF proteins, possibly reducing the likelihood that the cancer will develop resistance to the treatment, a common pitfall of monoclonal antibody drugs such as cetuximab (Erbitux).

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Medical News Today | Jul 26, 2013

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Medical News Today | Jul 26, 2013

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Despite FDA Act, Cancer Drug Trial Results Often Not Published

Despite FDA Act, Cancer Drug Trial Results Often Not Published | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Passed in 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act included a provision requiring the publishing of all clinical trials for cancer drugs performed in the U.S. However, an examination of online public records and journals revealed that nearly half of phase II, phase III, and phase IV clinical trial data have not been made available to the public. The researchers found 646 clinical trials in an online registry with completion dates between December 26, 2007 and May 31, 2010. But 1 year after completion, just 9% of clinical trial results had been posted at ClinicalTrials.gov, and only 12% had been posted in online journals (20% total availability). Three years after completion, 31% of clinical trial data had been posted on ClinicalTrials.gov and 35% had been posted in journals, with 55% available via both sources. The researchers called for better reporting of clinical trial data, as it could have an impact on patient treatment and safety.

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Medical Xpress | Jul 23, 2013

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Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy May Be Effective Option in Multiple Primary Lung Cancer

Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy May Be Effective Option in Multiple Primary Lung Cancer | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

A significant number of lung cancer patients develop more than one primary tumor. The tumors arise independently and are not cases of one original tumor spreading to other sites or recurring after removal. This condition, known as multiple primary lung cancer (MPLC), is often treated surgically. However, not all patients are eligible for surgery. A recent study retroactively examined the records of patients with early-stage MPLC who had been treated with stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR), a form of radiotherapy that uses high radiation doses over relatively few sessions, instead of surgery. Patients experienced good tumor control rates and almost half survived for 4 years or more. SABR may be an effective treatment option for patients with inoperable MPLC.

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Healio | Jul 22, 2013

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Double-Targeted Therapy Approach Could Be Key to Curing Nearly All Cancers

Double-Targeted Therapy Approach Could Be Key to Curing Nearly All Cancers | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Mathematical data gathered at Harvard suggests that using two targeted therapy drugs in a combination therapy could be an effective means of curing almost all types of cancer. The researchers pointed out that monotherapy treatments, in which just one drug is prescribed, work for a while but then begin to fail as the genetic mutations causing the cancer allow it to develop resistance to the drug. They argue that simultaneously prescribing two targeted therapy drugs could cure the cancer before it has a chance to develop resistance, if there is not a time overlap at all between the drugs (a single point mutation in a gene could derail both drugs). This double-targeted therapy approach flies in the face of the conventional approach used by oncologists, who prefer to prescribe drugs one at a time.

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Science Daily | Jul 19, 2013

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Science Daily | Jul 19, 2013