Trial confirms promise of stratified lung cancer treatment

May 22, 2014, Cancer Research UK

(Medical Xpress)—Routine tests that look for multiple, specific genetic changes in patients' lung tumours could help doctors select targeted treatments, a US study has confirmed.

The research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, looked simultaneously for ten specific -driving in the tumours of 733 with adenocarcinoma, the most common type of lung cancer.

One or more genetic changes were found in 64 per cent of these patients.

These changes, referred to as 'oncogenic drivers', can now be matched with drugs – either approved or experimental – that are designed to specifically work against cancers containing them.

Normally, people diagnosed with lung cancer are given a standard form of chemotherapy, meaning that some may face side-effects from drugs that may not be the most effective for their individual cancer.

Once the cancer driving genes were identified in a patient's tumour specimen, doctors were able to offer each patient either an approved targeted drug therapy, or a clinical trial aimed at developing new ones.

Dr Mark Kris, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, who led the study, said: "When we find these specific genetic changes, the doctor can choose drugs and clinical trials specifically targeting those oncogenic drivers. When that happens, the chance of shrinkage is much higher than with standard chemotherapies."

Survival times appeared to improve for patients receiving targeted treatment, though Professor Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK's chief clinician, cautioned that more trials are needed to find the exact effect that identifying such gene changes has on patients' survival.

"This study shows the progress we've made in understanding the genetic faults linked to and the opportunities to develop new treatments to block these mistakes," said Professor Johnson. "It's encouraging to see better survival in patients treated with drugs designed to target these faults, but further research is needed to establish the full benefit of this approach."

The study, run by the Lung Cancer Mutation Consortium, mirrors ongoing efforts in the UK, where several research programmes including CRUK's National Lung Matrix study, are aiming to embed cancer gene testing into routine cancer care.

"Trials like this, and the Matrix study, test our existing drugs as well as a whole array of new treatments," said Professor Johnson. " The future challenge is to integrate this approach into routine care, changing the way we diagnose patients so that we can establish a genetic profile of their cancer from a small biopsy, quickly."

Explore further: Genomic tumor testing to match lung cancer patients with targeted drugs transforms care

More information: Kris M.G, et al. (2014). "Using Multiplexed Assays of Oncogenic Drivers in Lung Cancers to Select Targeted Drugs," JAMA, 311 (19) 1998. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2014.3741

Related Stories

Genomic tumor testing to match lung cancer patients with targeted drugs transforms care

May 20, 2014
New data from a study led by Memorial Sloan Kettering physicians that used targeted therapy for patients with the most common type of lung cancer has helped transform treatment for the disease.

New clinical trial launched for advance lung cancer

April 17, 2014
Cancer Research UK is partnering with pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Pfizer to create a pioneering clinical trial for patients with advanced lung cancer – marking a new era of research into personalised medicines ...

Genetic screen finds new treatment targets for lung cancer

July 9, 2013
Cancer Research UK scientists are the first to use an efficient new screening strategy to identify gene faults in tumour cells that are possible drug targets for the most common form of lung cancer, according to new research ...

Non-uniform genetic mutations identified in lung cancers could lead to targeted treatment

April 23, 2014
The research, published in the journal Oncotarget, explored tumour heterogeneity – where different cells have different appearances or their own DNA signatures within the same cancer. Such differences could make it difficult ...

Experimental drugs for breast cancer could treat lung cancer too

August 13, 2013
Cancer Research UK -funded scientists have discovered that experimental drugs first developed for breast and ovarian cancer could be used to treat the most common type of lung cancer, reveals research published in Oncogene ...

Discovery to help predict who will benefit from lung cancer treatment

March 25, 2014
Cancer Research UK scientists have discovered the structure of an abnormal protein which causes an aggressive type of lung cancer, according to new research* published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science ...

Recommended for you

T-cells engineered to outsmart tumors induce clinical responses in relapsed Hodgkin lymphoma

January 16, 2018
WASHINGTON-(Jan. 16, 2018)-Tumors have come up with ingenious strategies that enable them to evade detection and destruction by the immune system. So, a research team that includes Children's National Health System clinician-researchers ...

Researchers identify new treatment target for melanoma

January 16, 2018
Researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have identified a new therapeutic target for the treatment of melanoma. For decades, research has associated female sex and a history of previous ...

More evidence of link between severe gum disease and cancer risk

January 16, 2018
Data collected during a long-term health study provides additional evidence for a link between increased risk of cancer in individuals with advanced gum disease, according to a new collaborative study led by epidemiologists ...

Researchers develop a remote-controlled cancer immunotherapy system

January 15, 2018
A team of researchers has developed an ultrasound-based system that can non-invasively and remotely control genetic processes in live immune T cells so that they recognize and kill cancer cells.

Dietary fat, changes in fat metabolism may promote prostate cancer metastasis

January 15, 2018
Prostate tumors tend to be what scientists call "indolent" - so slow-growing and self-contained that many affected men die with prostate cancer, not of it. But for the percentage of men whose prostate tumors metastasize, ...

Pancreatic tumors may require a one-two-three punch

January 15, 2018
One of the many difficult things about pancreatic cancer is that tumors are resistant to most treatments because of their unique density and cell composition. However, in a new Wilmot Cancer Institute study, scientists discovered ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.