Lung NETs and Their Treatment

Cancers that arise in the lung are mostly of the type known as NSCLC (non-small cell lung carcinoma). A much smaller proportion of lung tumors arise from neuroendocrine cells in the lungs. These cells (which are also found in most other organs) secrete a variety of hormones that are necessary for normal organ function, as well as for healing after injury or infection. Like other lung cells, neuroendocrine cells may transform to become cancers. Lung cancers that arise from neuroendocrine cells are called pulmonary neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), or lung NETs. Continue reading…

The New Drug Alisertib Performs Well in a Phase I Trial

“In a phase II study reported in The Lancet Oncology, Melichar et al found that the oral aurora kinase A inhibitor alisertib was active in solid tumors, particularly breast cancer and small cell lung cancer. Aurora kinases play central roles in mitosis. Inhibition of aurora kinase A, which is overexpressed/amplified in several tumor types and associated with poorer outcome, results in abnormal spindle formation, mitotic defects, and cell death.

“In the five-arm study, patients with disease that had relapsed or was refractory to chemotherapy and who had received up to two previous cytotoxic regimens (up to four for breast cancer), not including adjuvant or neoadjuvant treatment, were enrolled from 40 centers in the Czech Republic, France, Poland, and the United States between February 2010 and May 2013. Patients received alisertib at 50 mg twice daily for 7 days followed by 14 days off in 21-day cycles. Objective response was the primary endpoint.

“Among response-assessable patients, objective response (all partial responses) was observed in 9 (18%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 9%–32%) of 49 women with breast cancer, 10 (21%, 95% CI = 10%–35%) of 48 patients with small cell lung cancer, 1 (4%, 95% CI = 0%–22%) of 23 with non–small cell lung cancer, 4 (9%, 95% CI = 2%–21%) of 45 with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, and 4 (9%, 95% CI = 2%-20%) of 47 with gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma.”

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.

New treatment holds promise for resistant lung cancer

A new chemotherapy regimen appears to produce minimal side effects in patients with lung cancer that has not responded to previous therapy, paving the way for additional research to determine if the new regimen also helps shrink tumors, according…