Cerulean Pharma Inc. is beginning a phase II clinical trial that will investigate the safety and effectiveness of a novel chemotherapy drug, CRLX101, in patients with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (SCLC) who have responded to first-line, platinum-based chemotherapy. The study will compare CRLX101 to topotecan (Hycamtin), which is currently the only approved second-line therapy for relapsed SCLC. CRLX101 is already being assessed as a treatment for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in another phase II trial close to completion and may be safer than Hycamtin.
Medical experts at the 2012 Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium presented data on the growing number of targeted treatments for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with so-called driver mutations—specific genetic mutations that drive tumor growth. Among the drugs showing promise in adenocarcinoma are ridaforolimus for KRAS-mutant tumors, ganetespib for ALK- or KRAS-mutant tumors, and afatinib for EGFR-mutant tumors. For squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), new potential treatments include AZD4547 and BGJ398 (FGFR1-mutant), dasatinib and nilotinib (DDR2 mutant), Tarceva and Iressa (EGFRvIII-mutant), and Yervoy and Cadi-05 (all SCC), while anti–PD-1 antibodies such as BMS-936558 may be effective for both adenocarcinoma and SCC.