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Lung Cancer Dispatch
News for Patients and Physicians
Curated by Cancer Commons
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Upcoming Event: Ask Anything About Lung Cancer

From June 26 to 27, lung cancer expert David M. Jackman, MD, will answer patient-submitted questions as a moderator on the social media cancer Web site CancerConnect. Dr. Jackman is a thoracic oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. According to CancerConnect, "his research interests include evaluating how to predict responses to targeted therapy in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)." Questions can be submitted here.

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Cancer Connect. Jun 2013.

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Cancer Connect | Jun 2013

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Cancer Connect | Jun 2013

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Cancer Survivors Need Long-Term Care Plans

Cancer Survivors Need Long-Term Care Plans | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Most people who survive cancer are left to deal with the physical and emotional aftermath of treatment on their own—but they still need help. Long-term side effects of cancer treatments range from heart damage and painful nerve death to depression and body image disorders. However, a recent survey found that only 17% of people who survived cancer were given a long-term care plan. Cancer survivors can seek help at seven U.S. centers that focus on care after cancer, as well as the National Cancer Institute’s Office of Cancer Survivorship. The U.S. has nearly 14 million cancer survivors today, with 18 million expected by 2022.

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Bloomberg│Jun 3, 2013

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Bloomberg│Jun 3, 2013

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Sutent May Hold Off Relapse in SCLC

Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) usually responds well to initial chemotherapy, but frequently relapses within a short time. Maintenance therapy with the drug sunitinib (Sutent) may delay relapse and improve outcomes for SCLC patients, results from a recent phase II clinical trial suggest. Patients with extensive-stage SCLC who had responded to initial chemotherapy were given either Sutent as maintenance therapy or a placebo. Sutent, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) that blocks several proteins involved in SCLC, prolonged the time without cancer progression (3.2 months on average, compared to 2.3 months in the placebo-treated patients). Patients receiving Sutent also tended to have longer overall survival (8.9 months vs 6.9 months with placebo), although this finding was not clear enough to determine whether it was due to chance. The survival difference between patient groups may have been smaller because placebo-treated patients whose cancer relapsed were allowed to switch to Sutent, suggesting that Sutent may actually have more definite effects on patient survival.

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MedPage Today | June 5, 2013

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Cancer Drug Targeting BRAF Gene May Be Effective in Lung Cancer

A small subset of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), especially those with lung adenocarcinoma, have a mutation in the BRAF gene called V600E. An ongoing phase II clinical trial is investigating whether the BRAF inhibitor dabrafenib (Tafinlar) benefits patients with this mutation. Tafinlar is currently approved for treatment of the skin cancer melanoma. Recently released trial results show that the drug partially shrank tumors in 40% of advanced NSCLC patients whose cancer had worsened after at least one round of chemotherapy. Another 20% of study participants maintained stable disease (tumors neither shrinking nor growing). Almost half of the patients currently remain on the treatment. These findings are the first evidence that treatments targeting the BRAF V600E mutation may be effective in lung cancer.

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ASCO Daily News | June 4, 2013

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Blood Protein Test Can Identify Lung Cancer Patients Likely to Benefit from Targeted Therapy

A recent phase III clinical trial confirmed that the VeriStrat test can predict which lung cancer patients are likely to fare better when treated with EGFR inhibitors like erlotinib (Tarceva). Patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) were tested using VeriStrat before beginning Tarceva treatment. Those who had a VeriStrat result of 'good' experienced longer times without cancer growth and longer overall survival on Tarceva compared to those with a 'bad' result. VeriStrat results may help doctors distinguish patients who should be given EGFR inhibitors from those for whom the benefits would not outweigh the side effects and who would be better served by other treatments. VeriStrat does not test for mutations in the EGFR gene. Instead, the test assesses the pattern of several proteins in the blood to pinpoint patients likely to respond to EGFR inhibitors, including patients who may not have an EGFR mutation.

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Xconomy | June 3, 2013

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Some interesting data out of ASCO using protien signatures in the blood to help develop personalized medicine for lung cancer patients.  Article excerpt follows:

The results from the Phase 3 trial announced today, shows it can make that difference, in a prospective study, which means that patients got the Biodesix test, were treated based on its recommendation, and followed over time to see if they ended up any better off. Passing that kind of rigorous study, should greatly expands the commercial potential for VeriStrat, Brunel said.

“VeriStrat has been commercially available for several years, but adoption has been limited…. This could lead to widespread adoption,” Brunel said.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 220,000 Americans per year are diagnosed with lung cancer, and about 85-90 percent have non-small cell lung cancer.

Biodesix will now build a national sales team and develop its marketing to try to capitalize on VeriStrat’s commercial potential, which could improve as the federal government is expected to reach a decision soon about whether it will be covered by Medicare.

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New Cancer Drug Vargatef Extends Progression-Free Period in Lung Cancer

Patients treated with the new cancer drug nintedanib (Vargatef), in addition to second-line chemotherapy, experienced a longer delay before their lung cancer worsened, a recent phase III clinical trial showed. The study focused on patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose cancer had progressed after a first round of chemotherapy. Trial participants received the chemotherapy agent docetaxel (Taxotere) either with or without Vargatef. Those treated with Vargatef went an average of 3.4 months before their cancer started to grow again, compared to 2.7 in patients who were given Taxotere alone. There was also evidence that Vargatef may increase overall survival, especially in patients with lung adenocarcinoma, a subtype of NSCLC.

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PR Newswire | June 3, 2013

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Chemotherapy Drug Shortages Compromise Treatment

Chemotherapy Drug Shortages Compromise Treatment | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

A survey of 250 U.S. oncologists reveals that there aren't enough standard chemotherapy drugs to go around, forcing physicians to decide who should get them first. Shortages are worst for drugs recommended to treat blood, gastrointestinal, and pediatric cancers. More than 80% of oncologists reported shortages of preferred drugs in the last 6 months and most had chosen another treatment or switched treatments partway through therapy. Worse, 43% had delayed treatment, 37% had chosen which patients should get the scarce drugs, 20% had reduced doses, and 29% had omitted doses. These findings were presented American Society of Clinical Oncology's 2013 meeting. The researchers call for guidelines on allocating and making substitutions for scarce drugs.

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Science Daily│June 3, 2013

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Science Daily│June 3, 2013

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Science Daily│June 3, 2013

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RET Mutations May Emerge as New Target for Lung Cancer Treatments

RET Mutations May Emerge as New Target for Lung Cancer Treatments | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

A certain type of mutation in a protein, called RET, occurs in a significant subset of lung cancer patients, a recent study shows. Known as 'rearrangements,' these mutations fuse the RET gene with other nearby genes, resulting in a RET protein that contains parts of other proteins and is hyperactive. Patients with similar rearrangement mutations in another gene, ALK, can experience drastic improvements from treatment with ALK inhibitors such as crizotinib (Xalkori). This raises the hope that patients with RET rearrangement mutations may be similarly helped by drugs that block RET–either novel RET inhibitors or existing tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), such as vandetanib (Caprelsa), sunitinib (Sutent), sorafenib (Nexavar), or ponatinib (Iclusig). Identifying patients who may benefit from such treatments would be made easier by the new test for RET mutations developed by the study’s authors. When examining a group of patients with lung adenocarcinoma, a type of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), who did not have mutations in other cancer-relevant genes, the researchers found that 15% had RET rearrangement mutations.

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Medical Xpress | June 3, 2013

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Case of Resistance to Xalkori Linked to New Mutation in ROS1 Gene

Case of Resistance to Xalkori Linked to New Mutation in ROS1 Gene | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Crizotinib (Xalkori) is an effective treatment for lung cancer patients with mutations in the ALK or the ROS1 gene. However, patients usually develop resistance to the drug after some time. A patient with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with a ROS1 mutation improved significantly at first after enrolling in a clinical trial assessing Xalkori. However, after 3 months, her cancer again began to worsen despite continued Xalkori treatment. Genetic testing revealed that she had developed a new, additional mutation in the ROS1 gene that makes cells more resistant to Xalkori. The new mutation was present in all of the tumors that had stopped responding to the drug. A better understanding of the way in which cancer cells develop resistance to targeted therapies is critical for developing new treatments that can overcome drug resistance.

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New England Journal of Medicine | June 1, 2013

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Side Effects of New Immune-Based Lung Cancer Drug Manageable

Side Effects of New Immune-Based Lung Cancer Drug Manageable | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Preliminary results from an ongoing early clinical trial of the new lung cancer drug nivolumab show that the treatment is tolerable. Out of 43 patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with nivolumab and chemotherapy, slightly less than half experienced serious side effects. In most cases, these side effects were manageable with medication and/or discontinuation of nivolumab. Nivolumab targets PD-1, a protein on the surface of immune cells that switches off the immune response when it binds to another protein, PD-L1, which is often expressed on tumors. By inhibiting PD-1, nivolumab enables the immune system to continue attacking cancer cells. Additional clinical trials focusing on patients with squamous or non-squamous NSCLC will investigate whether nivolumab is more effective than the chemotherapy drug docetaxel (Taxotere).

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Medical Xpress | May 31, 2013

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Faster Pain Relief for Cancer Patients Who Need Opioid Pumps

Faster Pain Relief for Cancer Patients Who Need Opioid Pumps | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

People with advanced cancer often spend days of their remaining life in the hospital undergoing trials to calibrate the opioid pumps that relieve their pain. Now there may be a better way to optimize this pain treatment. A new study of 46 cancer patients shows that the proper opioid doses can be calculated. This improves quality of life by hastening pain relief and shortening hospital stays, allowing people to spend more time at home. Opioid doses are calculated based on factors including people’s age, type of cancer, severity of pain, and opioid use before getting the pump.

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Anesthesia & Analgesia│May 29, 2013

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Anesthesia & Analgesia│May 29, 2013

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Inhalable Chemotherapy May Offer Superior Lung Cancer Treatment

Inhalable Chemotherapy May Offer Superior Lung Cancer Treatment | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

A new drug delivery system attaches chemotherapy drugs to nanocarriers–microscopically tiny particles–to create an inhalable lung cancer treatment. Because this approach delivers drugs directly into the lung, it minimizes their effects on the rest of the body, potentially reducing side effects. The drugs also reach the lungs in their most potent form, without being degraded after injection into the bloodstream during transport to the lung. In addition to chemotherapy, the nanocarriers can also deliver another type of small particle, called siRNA, designed to combat drug resistance. In a recent study, this inhalable combination treatment drastically shrank lung cancer tumors implanted in mice, and resulted in 83% of the drug being delivered to the lung, compared to 23% when the drug was injected. However, further testing is necessary before this treatment can be investigated in human clinical trials.

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ScienceDaily | May 22, 2013

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FDA Approves Expanded Use and Companion Diagnostic for Tarceva

The FDA has approved the use of erlotinib (Tarceva) as a first-line treatment for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have a mutation in the EGFR gene. Tarceva, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) that inhibits EGFR, had already been approved for patients with advanced NSCLC as a second- or later-line treatment if at least one chemotherapy regimen had failed, or as maintenance treatment if their disease had not progressed after four cycles of chemotherapy. At the same time, the FDA approved, for the first time, a test for EGFR mutations, the cobas EGFR Mutation test. The test enables doctors to identify which patients have EGFR mutations and are therefore candidates for first-line treatment with Tarceva, making it a so-called 'companion diagnostic' for Tarceva.

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ASCO Post | May 14, 2013

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New Recommendations for Treating Blood Clots in Cancer Patients

People with cancer are more likely to get blood clots in their veins, which can cause strokes, heart attacks, and other life-threatening conditions. To update the guidelines for preventing and treating blood clots in cancer patients, researchers reviewed 42 existing studies. Their new recommendations include:

  • Using low–molecular weight heparin, which is injected;
  • Not using new oral anticoagulants;
  • Regularly assessing the risk of blood clots;
  • Not treating outpatients routinely; and
  • Treating patients with cancer throughout hospitalization in most cases, as well as before and after major cancer surgery.
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Journal of Clinical Oncology│June 4, 2013

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Journal of Clinical Oncology│June 4, 2013

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Journal of Clinical Oncology│June 4, 2013

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Journal of Clinical Oncology│June 4, 2013

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Comparison of Combination Chemotherapy Regimens Shows No Significant Differences

Both pemetrexed (Alimta) plus carboplatin (Paraplatin) and Paraplatin plus paclitaxel (Taxol/Abraxane) plus bevacizumab (Avastin) are effective chemotherapy regimens against non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, until recently, the safety and efficacy of the two regimens had not been directly compared. To evaluate whether one regimen was superior, a phase III clinical trial determined how long patients with advanced non-squamous NSCLC remained free of either cancer progression or severe toxic side effects when treated with either of the two regimens. While patients receiving the Alimta plus Paraplatin regimen tended to have slightly longer relapse- and toxicity-free periods than those given Paraplatin plus Taxol/Abraxane plus Avastin, the difference was not very pronounced and could have happened by chance. The two regimens also did not differ regarding overall time until cancer progression, response rate and overall survival time.

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CancerNetwork | June 6, 2013

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Experimental PD-1 Blocker May Work Across Cancer Types

Experimental PD-1 Blocker May Work Across Cancer Types | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Results of a phase I clinical trial suggest that a new immunotherapy drug called MPDL3280A could control a wide range of cancers. Manufactured by Roche Genentech, MPDL3280A is one of several promising but experimental drugs that block PD-1, a cell surface protein that disguises tumor cells from our immune systems. The study included 140 people with different kinds of tumors (melanoma as well as colorectal, gastric, kidney, and non-small cell lung cancers) that had resisted other treatments. Tumors shrank in 21% of those treated with MPDL3280A, particularly people with melanoma or lung cancer. These findings were presented at the 2013 meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. While still in the very early stages of research, targeting tumors with our own immune systems has great potential to work across many different cancer types and to keep them in check longer than current treatments, say researchers, giving new hope to people with cancer.

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Science Daily│Jun 3, 2013

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Science Daily│Jun 3, 2013

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New Lung Cancer Drug LDK378 Appears Effective

In an ongoing phase I clinical trial, the new lung cancer drug LDK378 showed signs of effectiveness in advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with mutations in the ALK gene. Sixty percent of the patients treated with the highest dose of LDK378, which blocks ALK, benefited from the drug. These effects were seen both in patients who had never been treated with the ALK inhibitor crizotinib (Xalkori) before and patients who had become resistant to Xalkori. LDK378 was declared a Breakthrough Therapy by the FDA in March, a designation intended to expedite the development and approval process of treatments for life-threatening conditions. Novartis, which produces LDK378, is initiating two phase II clinical trials (one examining patients who were previously treated with chemotherapy and Xalkori, the other patients with no history of Xalkori treatment) and planning a forthcoming phase III trial.

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Yahoo! Finance | June 3, 2013

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Patients with Drug-Resistant Lung Cancer Might Benefit from New Drug CO-1686

Patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have mutations in the EGFR gene often improve significantly when treated with EGFR inhibitors like erlotinib (Tarceva) or gefitinib (Iressa). However, in virtually all cases, patients eventually develop resistance to these drugs. Resistance to EGFR inhibitors is frequently associated with patients developing an additional mutation in the EGFR gene called T790M. Hope for these patients may come from a new EGFR inhibitor designed to target the T790M mutation, called CO-1686. Preliminary results from an ongoing early clinical trial of CO-1686 show that the drug shrank tumors in at least a subset of patients with EGFR-mutant advanced NSCLC who were resistant to EGFR inhibitors and carried the T790M mutation.

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Reuters | June 3, 2013

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One Follow-Up Irradiation May Be Enough for Bone Tumor Pain

Radiation can alleviate pain in people with cancers that spread to the bones, but this treatment also has nasty side effects, including vomiting, diarrhea, and lack of appetite. New research suggests that when follow-up radiation is needed, one treatment may relieve pain, as well as several that are spread over different days—and have fewer side effects. Two months into a trial of 850 people with tumors in their bones, participants reported the same pain relief and took the same amount of pain-relieving drugs, whether they had a single follow-up radiation treatment or five to eight treatments. These findings were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's 2013 meeting.

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Cancer Network│June 3, 2013

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Cancer Network│Jun 3, 2013

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Cancer Network│June 3, 2013

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Cancer Network│June 3, 2013

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Oncologists Uncomfortable with Most New Cancer Drugs

How much are the newest treatments for cancers actually used? Not enough, according to a survey of how confident 100 U.S. oncologists are in prescribing 20 drugs approved between 2009 and 2012. Many new drugs used for common cancers were hardly used by those surveyed and only four new drugs were prescribed with confidence—and this was by just half of those surveyed. These findings are in the proceedings of the American Society of Clinical Oncology's 2013 meeting. The researchers call for finding ways to speed the adoption of new cancer therapies.

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ASCO University│June 2013

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ASCO University│June 2013

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ASCO University│June 2013

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Promising Early Trial Results for New Lung Cancer Drug AP26113

An ongoing phase I/II clinical trial of the cancer drug AP26113 has produced encouraging preliminary results. The study examines patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have not responded, or have become resistant, to other treatments. AP26113 shrank tumors in the majority of patients with mutations in the ALK gene, including several whose cancer had spread to the brain. Effects were seen both in patients who had never been treated with the ALK inhibitor crizotinib (Xalkori) and patients who had become resistant to Xalkori. Preliminary evidence also suggests that AP26113 may be effective in patients with mutations in the EGFR gene who have become resistant to EGFR inhibitors like erlotinib (Tarceva) and gefitinib (Iressa). AP26113, which inhibits both ALK and EGFR, was well tolerated and serious side effects were rare. The trial is moving ahead into phase II based on these findings.

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4-traders.com | June 2, 2013

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Xalkori More Successful than Chemotherapy in Lung Cancer Patients with ALK Mutations

Xalkori More Successful than Chemotherapy in Lung Cancer Patients with ALK Mutations | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Crizotinib (Xalkori) may be more beneficial than chemotherapy for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have a mutation in the ALK gene, a phase III clinical trial found. The patients had previously been treated with chemotherapy, after which their cancer had started to progress again. During the trial, they received either a different chemotherapy agent or Xalkori. Xalkori-treated patients went on average 7.7 months without a worsening of their cancer, compared to 3.0 months in the chemotherapy-treated patients. Patients on Xalkori also experienced better quality of life. This study demonstrates the importance of genetic testing for biomarkers, such as ALK mutation, and prescription of targeted therapies based on these biomarkers.

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ScienceDaily | June 1, 2013

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Early Trial of New Lung Cancer Drug CH5424802 Yields Encouraging Results

Many patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have mutations in the ALK gene benefit from treatment with ALK inhibitors. A phase I/II clinical trial of the new ALK inhibitor CH5424802 determined that the drug was well tolerated and showed signs of effectiveness. Out of 46 patients with ALK-mutant advanced NSCLC, 2 experienced a complete response and 41 a partial response; 40 patients currently remain on the treatment. If future studies confirm the effectiveness of CH5424802, it could offer an additional option to crizotinib (Xalkori), currently the only ALK inhibitor approved for treating ALK-mutant NSCLC. An ongoing clinical trial is investigating whether CH5424802 is beneficial in patients who have become resistant to Xalkori.

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The Lancet | April 30, 2013

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Two Upcoming Clinical Trials to Investigate New Lung Cancer Drug OGX-427

OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals plans to launch two phase II clinical trials of its new cancer drug, OGX-427, in lung cancer patients. The Cedar trial will be conducted by the UK National Cancer Research Network and the UK Experimental Cancer Medicine Network at cancer centers throughout the UK. It will examine the effectiveness of OGX-427 in combination with chemotherapy in previously untreated patients with advanced squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the lung, a type of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The Spruce trial will be performed in the U.S. in collaboration with the Sarah Cannon Research Institute and will enroll patients with advanced non-squamous NSCLC. OGX-427 inhibits Hsp27, a protein that is overexpressed in many cancer cells.

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Sacramento Bee | May 23, 2013

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Timing of Radiotherapy Could Reduce Hair Loss

Timing of Radiotherapy Could Reduce Hair Loss | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

A new study suggests that mouse hair operates on a schedule–it grows quickly during the day and slows down at night to repair DNA damage. If human hair behaves similarly, the discovery could help cancer patients avoid an unpleasant side effect of chemotherapy: hair loss. The study found that mice lost 85% of their hair after morning radiation sessions, but just 17% following nighttime sessions; hair cells repaired the inflicted damage overnight. Cancer cells, however, replicate at the same speed regardless of time, so the time of treatment won’t alter its effectiveness. The researchers believe investigating circadian clocks in humans could lead to treatment programs that minimize collateral damage such as hair loss.

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Medical News Today | May 23, 2013

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Medical News Today | May 23, 2013

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Medical News Today | May 23, 2013