Benefit of targeted lung cancer therapy confirmed
A drug that targets a specific type of lung cancer shows a dramatic response in more than half of the people who take it. The drug, called crizotinib, has been in clinical trials since 2006, and the results from the largest group of patients to take it within the first of these clinical trials are being presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). The patients taking crizotinib have anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) positive advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and the drug targets the gene that drives this particular kind of cancer. In 119 patients, crizotinib produces some degree of shrinkage in the tumors of the majority of patients with dramatic responses in more than 60 percent of cases. The responses last approximately 48 weeks.
D. Ross Camidge, MD, PhD, the director of the lung cancer clinical program at University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) and the University of Colorado Cancer Center, will be presenting the latest results from the crizotinib trial at ASCO. "The strength of crizotinib in ALK positive lung cancer was apparent when less than 20 patients were taking part in the trial. The benefit of targeting this kind of cancer with this particular drug has only been confirmed as more patients enrolled in the trial," said Camidge. "This demonstrates the efficacy of new drugs can be reliably revealed even among small groups of patients when the cancers being tested are molecularly uniform."
Medical oncologists at UCH care for one of the largest groups of ALK positive lung cancer patients in the world. Approximately one in 20 lung cancer patients is ALK positive - their responses to crizotinib are dramatic, the side effects are usually mild and often improve over time.
Camidge believes the results being seen with crizotinib open the door to a new way of thinking when it comes to cancer treatment. "We need to continue testing drugs in molecularly defined populations to find out early whether they can be effective. When we try and give targeted drugs to everyone, knowing that cancers are so different between individuals, we run the risk of missing real breakthroughs that only apply to subgroups. You don't have to know definitively what the magic marker for who responds to a particular drug is when you start – but you can test a series of hypotheses by prescreening patients and really focus on the development of drugs on the right group as early as possible."
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Camidge said it is crucial for anyone diagnosed to get their lung tumor tested for ALK and an increasing list of other molecular markers. The University of Colorado helped to develop several of these tests that now reveal that lung cancer is actually several different diseases at the molecular level. Each one may need a different type of treatment.
Source: University of Colorado Denver
Articles on the same topic
- NYU Cancer Institute experts present at ASCO 2011 Annual MeetingMon, 6 Jun 2011, 14:35:25 EDT
- New pretargeted radioimmunotherapy for colorectal cancerMon, 6 Jun 2011, 13:04:47 EDT
- New glioblastoma cancer vaccine shows promise in phase 2 trial Mon, 6 Jun 2011, 9:34:46 EDT
- City of Hope researchers to present rectal cancer, palliative care, benchmarking studies at ASCOMon, 6 Jun 2011, 9:34:09 EDT
- In the lab and clinic, VCU Massey develops a new therapy for blood cancersThu, 2 Jun 2011, 17:36:33 EDT
- New drug combination slows tumor growth for recurrent ovarian cancerfrom PhysorgMon, 6 Jun 2011, 12:00:42 EDT
- New glioblastoma cancer vaccine shows promise in phase 2 trialfrom PhysorgMon, 6 Jun 2011, 10:00:46 EDT
- Benefit of targeted lung cancer therapy confirmedfrom Science DailyFri, 3 Jun 2011, 16:30:47 EDT
- Benefit of targeted lung cancer therapy confirmedfrom PhysorgFri, 3 Jun 2011, 15:30:54 EDT
- As cancer survivorship grows, so do questions of related health issuesfrom PhysorgFri, 3 Jun 2011, 9:31:29 EDT
- In the lab and clinic, researchers develop a new therapy for blood cancersfrom PhysorgThu, 2 Jun 2011, 17:30:39 EDT
- New therapy for blood cancers using drug combofrom Science DailyThu, 2 Jun 2011, 17:30:17 EDT
Latest Science NewsletterGet the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!
Learn more about
Check out our next project, Biology.Net
From other science news sites
Popular science news articles
- Kids' cartoon characters twice as likely to die as counterparts in films for adults
- Herd mentality: Are we programmed to make bad decisions?
- Evidence of Viking/Norse metalworking in Arctic Canada
- NASA Goddard instrument makes first detection of organic matter on Mars
- Origin of long-standing space mystery revealed
- Ground-based detection of super-Earth transit achieved
- NASA's Swift mission probes an exotic object: 'Kicked' black hole or mega star?
- Pulsars with black holes could hold the 'holy grail' of gravity
- King Richard III -- case closed after 529 years
- Social media data contain pitfalls for understanding human behavior