Lung Cancer Dispatch
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Curated by Cancer Commons
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Cancer Patients Need Support to Adopt Healthy Lifestyles

Cancer Patients Need Support to Adopt Healthy Lifestyles | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Healthy lifestyles can benefit people with cancer, reducing recurrence and increasing long-term survival. But that knowledge alone is not enough to make cancer patients start exercising, and stop smoking and drinking, researchers report in the British Journal of Cancer. The study included 5,146 adults from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, and showed that the 433 who got cancer did not adopt healthier habits after diagnosis. Instead, they smoked and drank as much as those without cancer, and exercised even less. The researchers call for figuring out how to help cancer patients make lifestyle changes that can protect their health.

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British Journal of Cancer│May 22, 2013

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British Journal of Cancer│May 22, 2013

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British Journal of Cancer│May 22, 2013

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Standard-Dose Radiation Therapy Safer and More Effective Than High-Dose Therapy in Stage III NSCLC

Standard-dose radiation therapy gives better results compared to high-dose radiation in patients with locally advanced stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), a recent clinical trial showed. Patients treated with 60 Gy of radiation had longer median survival (28.7 vs 19.5 months) and higher 18-month survival rates (66.9% vs 53.9%) compared to those receiving 74 Gy of radiation. Standard-dose therapy resulted in less cancer spread, lower rates of recurrence, and fewer severe side effects and treatment-related deaths than high-dose radiation. All patients also received chemotherapy with or without cetuximab (Erbitux) in addition to radiation; a future analysis will look at whether Erbitux helped survival.

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ASCO Post | May 17, 2013

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Cancer Patients Want Doctors to Discuss Treatment Costs

Cancer Patients Want Doctors to Discuss Treatment Costs | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

While most people with cancer want to talk about the costs of care with their doctors, they often don't, due to fears that this will compromise their quality of care. A survey of 300 insured cancer patients showed that 57% wanted to discuss costs with their doctors, but only 19% actually had, report researchers at the Duke Cancer Institute. This work will be presented on June 3 at the 2013 American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. The researchers recommend that doctors routinely discuss treatment costs with cancer patients, adding that knowing patients want to talk about finances will make it easier for doctors to broach the subject.


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Medical Xpress│May 17, 2013

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Physicians Starting to Adopt Biomarker Testing, But There Is Still Room for Improvement

Two recent surveys of pulmonologists (lung physicians) and pathologists (physicians specializing in medical diagnosis) revealed their increased involvement in lung cancer biomarker testing, but challenges remain. Testing for biomarkers (certain genetic abnormalities in cancer) is crucial for choosing appropriate treatments, including targeted therapies. According to the surveys, almost half of pulmonologists and one-third of pathologists now test tissues for biomarkers immediately after a non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) diagnosis. A majority of both groups also said they do not always acquire tissue samples of sufficient size or quality for biomarker testing and many feel they do not have enough information about the size of tissue needed. The physicians also disagree about the best tissue collection method.

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Reuters | May 7, 2013

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Diabetes Drug May Help Fight Lung Cancer

Diabetes Drug May Help Fight Lung Cancer | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

The diabetes drug metformin may enhance the effectiveness of radiation therapy in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), a recent study concluded. At doses similar to those used in diabetes treatment, metformin slowed the growth of NSCLC cell cultures and made them more sensitive to radiation. It also improved the tumor-shrinking effect of radiation on NSCLC tumors transplanted into mice. These observations suggest that metformin may help prevent or overcome the resistance to radiation that many lung cancer tumors exhibit. The researchers are now working to develop a clinical trial to investigate the benefits of metformin in lung cancer patients receiving radiation therapy.

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Cancer Research UK | May 1, 2013

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Clinical Trial of New Lung Cancer Treatment Now Enrolling Patients in Japan

A phase III clinical trial investigating the new cancer treatment nimotuzumab has started to enroll patients at approximately 60 clinical centers in Japan. The study will examine patients with locally advanced, inoperable stage III squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the lung, a type of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Patients will receive standard chemotherapy either with or without nimotuzumab. Produced by the pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo, nimotuzumab is an antibody (a type of immune system protein) that targets a protein called EGFR, which is mutated in many cases of lung cancer.

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Daiichi Sankyo | Apr 25, 2013

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Radiotherapy Relieves Pain from Bone Tumors in Elderly Patients

Radiotherapy Relieves Pain from Bone Tumors in Elderly Patients | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Cancer that spreads to the bones can cause debilitating pain that is often treated with morphine, an opioid drug that has its own downsides, from grogginess to nausea to constipation. But radiotherapy could lessen the need for morphine among elderly individuals with bone tumors, researchers reported at the 2013 forum of the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology. The researchers gave radiotherapy to patients aged 75 years and up whose cancer (primarily breast, lung, or prostate) had spread to their bones. Regular follow-up surveys revealed that a single radiotherapy treatment helped relieve pain. The surveys also showed that despite their physical impairments, the elderly patients treated with radiotherapy were as satisfied with their quality of life as younger patients.


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Medical News Today│Apr 24, 2013

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Cancer Survivors' Lifestyles Put Them at Risk for Heart Disease

Cancer Survivors' Lifestyles Put Them at Risk for Heart Disease | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

A new study suggests that cancer survivors are at greater risk for heart disease, highlighting the need for incorporating lifestyle changes into their continuing care. In a self-reported survey, the researchers found that 1,582 people who had survived cancer (breast, colorectal, gynecologic, or prostate) also had more risk factors for cardiovascular disease including smoking, high body mass index, physical inactivity, hypertension, and diabetes. Hispanic and black survivors had more of these risk factors than white survivors. In addition, nearly one-third of those surveyed said that their health care provider had not suggested reducing their risk of heart disease by, for example, exercising and losing weight.

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Medical News Today│Apr 18, 2013

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Medical News Today│Apr 18, 2013

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New Clinical Trial of Drug OGX-427 Aims to Help Patients Ineligible for Targeted Therapies

OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals announced that it will begin the Spruce clinical trial, a phase II study investigating the use of their cancer drug OGX-427 in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Patients with advanced non-squamous NSCLC will receive first-line treatment with chemotherapy using carboplatin (Paraplatin) and pemetrexed (Alimta), either with or without the addition of OGX-427. OGX-427 inhibits a protein called Hsp27, which is elevated in many cancers. The study investigators suggest that OGX-427 may be especially helpful for patients whose cancers lack certain mutations that would make them eligible for currently available targeted therapies.

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Pharmaceutical Business Review | Apr 12, 2013

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Rates of Misdiagnosed Lung Cancer Vary Widely

Some patients who undergo surgery for suspected lung cancer turn out not to have the disease. Such a misdiagnosis is known as a "false positive." A recent analysis found that the rates of lung cancer false positives vary widely from state to state, ranging from 1.3% of lung cancer diagnoses in Vermont to 25% in Hawaii, with no clear pattern across states. Possible reasons for the variation include local differences in how quickly clinicians move from a suspicious finding during lung cancer screening to surgery. Other potential factors involve conditions like chronic fungal infections, which are more common in certain regions and can be mistaken for lung cancer. The findings underline the need for caution in the interpretation of lung cancer screens, especially considering that 2.1% of the patients in the study who had received a false positive diagnosis died after surgery.

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MedPage Today | Apr 10, 2013

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Blood Levels of Bilirubin Predict Lung Cancer Risk in Smokers

Blood Levels of Bilirubin Predict Lung Cancer Risk in Smokers | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Smokers with low blood levels of a molecule called bilirubin are at greater risk of developing lung cancer and dying from it, researchers have found. Among 400,000 people, they found that smokers with the lowest levels of bilirubin had a 69% higher rate of lung cancer and were 76% more likely to die from the disease compared to those with the highest bilirubin levels. Among nonsmokers, differences in bilirubin levels did not affect lung cancer risk. It is not clear whether bilirubin has a protective effect against lung cancer or whether low bilirubin is simply a byproduct of other processes involved in lung cancer development. Either way, low bilirubin levels could identify smokers at high risk of lung cancer who are particularly in need of anti-smoking interventions and cancer screening.

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American Association for Cancer Research | Apr 7, 2013

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Lung Cancer Patient with ROS1 Mutation Responds to Xalkori

Lung Cancer Patient with ROS1 Mutation Responds to Xalkori | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

A patient with advanced lung adenocarcinoma, a type of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), had relapsed from, or failed to respond to, numerous chemotherapy agents and targeted therapies and was deteriorating rapidly. Previous molecular testing had found no mutations in commonly tested biomarker genes, but a follow-up test detected a mutation in the ROS1 gene. The patient then started treatment with crizotinib (Xalkori) and experienced a dramatic improvement, including tumor shrinkage. Xalkori treatment has continued for 12 weeks so far, with no sign of cancer progression. This case demonstrates the remarkable effectiveness that Xalkori can have in ROS1-mutant NSCLC, as well as the need for prompt and comprehensive molecular testing for all NSCLC patients.

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Lung Cancer | Apr 4, 2013

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Improved MET Inhibitors May Have Potential as Lung Cancer Treatments

Improved MET Inhibitors May Have Potential as Lung Cancer Treatments | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

MET, also known as c-Met, is a protein that normally occurs only at low levels in healthy tissues, but is overabundant and often mutated in many tumors, including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). It is therefore a promising target for cancer treatments called MET inhibitors. However, currently available MET inhibitors also interfere with other proteins, leading to serious side effects and limiting their usefulness. In a recent study, researchers showed that the new MET inhibitors EMD 1214063 and EMD 1204831 are highly selective for MET only. The two drugs also shrank NSCLC tumors implanted into mice, suggesting that they may be promising treatments for NSCLC.

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Clinical Cancer Research | Apr 3, 2013

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New Immune-Based Drug Shows Signs of Effectiveness in Several Cancers

The new cancer drug MPDL3280A has produced promising results in an early clinical trial that investigated patients with various advanced cancers, including lung cancer; melanoma; and cancer of the kidney, intestines, or stomach. All participants had previously seen their cancer worsen despite treatment. Yet, during treatment with MPDL3280A, tumors shrank significantly in more than one-fifth of the patients. Response rates were especially high in lung cancer and melanoma patients. Of the patients who responded to MPDL3280A, almost all continue to see effects now, 3 to 15+ months into the study. MPDL3280A targets a protein, PD-L1, that is often expressed on cancer cells and "hides" the cells from the body’s immune response; by blocking PD-L1, MPDL3280A allows the immune system to attack the tumors. Further studies will be needed to confirm these findings.

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ASCO Post | May 17, 2013

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ASCO Post | May 17, 2013

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ASCO Post | May 17, 2013

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Clinical Trial Seeks to Find People with Mutation That May Confer High Risk for Lung Cancer

Many lung cancer patients have never smoked. Some nonsmokers may be at high risk of developing lung cancer due to inherited genetic mutations. While lung cancer patients often have mutations in their tumor tissue, some also carry genetic mutations in all cells of their body, which were present even before the cancer. The INHERIT EGFR clinical trial by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute studies a specific mutation in the EGFR gene called T790M. The trial is recruiting patients with the T790M mutation in their tumors who have a high chance of carrying the otherwise very rare mutation in all of their body cells, along with their relatives, who may also carry the mutation. Researchers will investigate whether people with the T790M mutation indeed have a higher risk of developing lung cancer. The findings may help to develop better ways to detect lung cancer sooner or to reduce the risk of developing the disease.

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Lung Cancer Foundation | May 14, 2013

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Clinical Trial Reveals Patients' Willingness to Undergo Genetic Testing for Personalized Cancer Treatment

Clinical Trial Reveals Patients' Willingness to Undergo Genetic Testing for Personalized Cancer Treatment | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

A recently completed clinical trial examining the use of genetic testing to direct cancer treatment was able to exceed its enrollment goal of 600 participants in less than 2 years instead of the expected 5 years. Patients were willing to participate even though they had to undergo an additional biopsy, revealing considerable interest in personalized treatment based on genetic tests. The trial confirmed that erlotinib (Tarceva) is highly effective in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with a mutation in the EGFR gene. It also found that NSCLC patients with mutations in the KRAS gene did not benefit from the novel cancer drug selumetinib. In contrast, not enough small cell lung cancer (SCLC) patients had any of the investigated mutations to properly test how they responded to treatments. Such mutations will require trials involving thousands of patients to draw reliable conclusions.

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ScienceDaily | May 15, 2013

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ScienceDaily | May 15, 2013

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ScienceDaily | May 15, 2013

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Low-Radiation CT Scan Superior for Detecting Lung Cancer Recurrences

Low-Radiation CT Scan Superior for Detecting Lung Cancer Recurrences | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

A new screening method may offer a better way to monitor recurrence after lung cancer surgery. Recurrence is common, but traditional screening methods, including chest x-rays and computed tomography (CT) scans, have significant drawbacks. A new minimal dose CT (MnDCT) scan reduces radiation exposure to no more than that of standard x-rays, but it maintains superior sensitivity. In a recent study, MnDCT detected 94% of cancer recurrences in patients who had received surgery to remove stage I or II lung cancer; x-rays caught only 21%. However, MnDCT has a high rate of false positives (ie, detecting lung cancer when none is actually present), which is of concern because recurrence may call for invasive and potentially dangerous follow-up procedures.

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Medical Xpress | May 6, 2013

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Ongoing Clinical Trial Investigates New Lung Cancer Treatment MM-121

Merrimack Pharmaceuticals is conducting a phase II clinical trial of the new drug MM-121. MM-121 is an antibody (a type of immune system protein) that targets a protein called ErbB3 or HER3, which plays a role in tumor growth and survival. ErbB3 is closely related to the protein EGFR. EGFR inhibitors like erlotinib (Tarceva) are used to treat non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The study examines whether combining Tarceva with MM-121 is more effective than Tarceva alone. The trial involves three patients groups: group A (NSCLC patients without mutations in the EGFR gene who have not previously been treated with EGFR inhibitors), group B (patients with EGFR mutations who have not received EGFR inhibitors), and group C (patients who previously received EGFR inhibitors and whose cancer worsened despite the treatment). Group A enrollment has just been completed, group B enrollment is ongoing, and studies of group C were completed recently.

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CNN Money | Apr 29, 2013

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Engaging the Immune System May Be a Useful Strategy in SCLC

Drugs that enhance the body’s immune response (immunotherapies) may help patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Immunotherapy may be beneficial on its own, but could also complement standard chemotherapy. An overview of recent studies and ongoing clinical trials highlighted several promising immunotherapies, including ipilimumab (Yervoy). Yervoy, which has been approved to treat certain kinds of skin cancer, targets a protein called CTLA4, which acts as an "off switch" on immune system cells. By deactivating CTLA4, Yervoy allows the immune system to continue attacking tumors. Another immune treatment that may be combined with traditional chemotherapy is interferon-alpha, a molecule that stimulates the body’s immune cells.

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Journal of Thoracic Oncology | Apr 15, 2013

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ACE Inhibitor Protects Heart and Lungs from Radiation Damage in Rats

Lung and breast cancers are often treated with radiation, but repeated high doses can also harm healthy tissues in the lungs and heart. New research suggests that both organs can be protected during radiation with a drug called captopril, an ACE inhibitor that is commonly used to treat cardiovascular disease. Radiation causes fibrosis (excess connective tissue) in the heart, diminishing blood flow to—and so damaging—the lungs. However, captopril decreases fibrosis in irradiated hearts and, therefore, also protects the lungs in rats, researchers reported at the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology's 2013 forum. The researchers are now designing a clinical trial to see if captopril also protects against radiation damage in people.

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Science Daily│Apr 21, 2013

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Science Daily│Apr 21, 2013

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Science Daily│Apr 21, 2013

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New Technique Pokes Holes in Thorny Areas of Tumors

A novel treatment technique called irreversible electroporation (IRE) can be used to kill tumor cells without damaging nearby tissues. The method works by creating tiny holes in the membranes surrounding cancer cells using ultrafast electrical pulses. Leakage through the holes destroys the chemical balance in the tumor cells and kills them. In a recent study, researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City used IRE to treat 25 patients with a range of cancers, including lung cancer, that had spread beyond the original site. The tumors were located near sensitive, important structures like major blood vessels. This made conventional tumor removal impossible, since such techniques, including surgery or heating/freezing (thermal ablation), can damage tissues near the tumor. All patients were treated with IRE without major complications, suggesting that the method is safe enough to be investigated in large clinical trials.

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ScienceDaily | Apr 14, 2013

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PET Scans May Identify High-Risk, Early-Stage Lung Cancer Patients

Stage Ia non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is commonly treated with surgery alone. However, the cancer frequently recurs, and only 67% of stage Ia NSCLC patients survive for 5 years or more. Adjuvant chemotherapy (chemotherapy given as a secondary treatment in addition to surgery) may increase survival, but also has severe toxic side effects. Therefore, it is important to identify stage Ia patients with high risk of recurrence, for whom the benefits of adjuvant chemotherapy would outweigh the drawbacks. A retrospective analysis of stage Ia NSCLC patients found that those with positive results from a scanning technique called a fluorodeoxyglucose PET (positron emission tomography) scan (FDG-PET) had significantly lower rates of survival. Patients with positive FDG-PET results may, therefore, be good candidates for adjuvant chemotherapy.

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MedPage Today | Apr 10, 2013

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Iclusig Inhibits Mutant Proteins Found in Lung Cancer

The leukemia drug ponatinib (Iclusig) also appears to target mutant versions of two proteins involved in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This is supported by two recent studies in which Iclusig slowed the growth of cells with mutant RET and FGFR proteins. The drug also shrank tumors with RET mutations that had been grown in mice. Based on these findings, Iclusig manufacturer ARIAD Pharmaceuticals is planning a phase II clinical trial to investigate the drug's effectiveness against NSCLC with RET mutations. A phase II trial assessing Iclusig's effects in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the lung with FGFR mutations is already underway at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts, and is currently enrolling participants.

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ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc. | Apr 8, 2013

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Lung Cancer Drug Combination Appears Safe for Treatment-Resistant Patients

A new approach to tackling non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that is resistant to other treatments appears to be safe for patients. In an ongoing phase I/II clinical trial, people with advanced NSCLC without mutations in the EGFR gene, and who had not benefitted from previous therapies, were given a combination of erlotinib (Tarceva) and MLN8237 (Alisertib). Tarceva targets mutations in the EGFR gene, but may also be effective for patients without such mutations, especially when combined with another drug. While it is too early in the trial to determine whether the Tarceva-Alisertib combination is effective, the treatment produced minimal side effects, paving the way for more in-depth studies.

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Fox Chase Cancer Center | Apr 9, 2013

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New Lung Cancer Drug Ganetespib Shows Mixed Results in Clinical Trial

New Lung Cancer Drug Ganetespib Shows Mixed Results in Clinical Trial | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Results from an ongoing phase II clinical trial suggest that the new drug ganetespib may be effective in a subset of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). People with mutations in the genes EGFR or KRAS, who had been the original focus of the study, did not benefit significantly from the drug. However, among patients with mutations in the ALK gene who had not been treated previously with crizotinib (Xalkori), half seemed to benefit from ganetespib. This finding is based on a small number of patients, but Synta Pharmaceuticals, the company developing ganetespib, will investigate it further in a clinical trial focusing specifically on ALK-mutant NSCLC.

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Clinical Cancer Research | Apr 3, 2013

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