Variations in Certain Genes May Predict Clinical Outcomes in Early-Stage Lung Cancer

Early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is usually treated with surgical removal of the tumor. However, in up to 50% of patients, the cancer will return within 5 years. A study of genetic variations that affect the function of microRNAs (small molecules involved in gene expression) found that several of them, including variations in the FAS, FZD4, SP1, and DROSHA genes, were associated with higher or lower probabilities of cancer recurrence and survival. Tests for such microRNA-related genetic variations may eventually help identify high-risk, early-stage NSCLC patients who would benefit from additional treatment after surgery.

Reolysin Shrinks Lung Cancer Tumors in Clinical Trial

A phase II study of the novel cancer treatment Reolysin in 20 patients with advanced squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the lung, a type of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), showed a reduction in tumor size in 95% of patients. Patients were given Reolysin in combination with the chemotherapy drugs carboplatin (Paraplatin) and paclitaxel (Taxol or Abraxane); on average, their tumors shrank by about one-third. This finding suggests that Reolysin may be useful for presurgical treatment of tumors. Reolysin, made by the company Oncolytics, is a form of a virus called reovirus. Most adults have been exposed to reovirus, which usually does not produce symptoms. However, reovirus selectively infects and kills tumor cells.

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CollabRx Updates Online Tool for Finding Targeted Therapies for Lung Cancer

CollabRx has released a new version of its Therapy Finder™ application for lung cancer, an online tool that recommends targeted therapies and clinical trials to physicians based on genetic information about a patient’s tumor. Available at:, the updated application incorporates information about mutations in the ROS1 gene, which can make patients eligible for treatment with a class of drugs called ALK inhibitors, including crizotinib (Xalkori). The new tool also includes updated information about selumetinib, an investigational drug that may benefit patients whose tumors carry a mutation in the KRAS gene.

CHFR Protein Levels Predict Effectiveness of Chemotherapy

A study of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) given chemotherapy with carboplatin (Paraplatin) and paclitaxel (Taxol or Abraxane) found that patients with lower levels of the protein CHFR were more likely to respond to the treatment and survived longer than patients with high CHFR levels. These findings suggest that CHFR levels could be a useful biomarker for indicating patients likely to respond to so-called taxane chemotherapy drugs like Taxol, Abraxane, or docetaxel (Taxotere). In the future, treatments that target CHFR may be developed to increase responsiveness to taxane chemotherapy in patients with high CHFR levels.