FDA Approves Automated Scanning System for ALK Gene Mutations

Three percent to 5% of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients have a mutation in the ALK gene and may benefit from treatment with critozinib (Xalkori). In 2011, the FDA approved a test that samples NSCLC tissue and highlights ALK mutations with a glowing tag. Now, the FDA has approved an automated scanning system, GenASIs Scan & Analysis, for examining these tagged tissue samples. The automated system, produced by Applied Spectral Imaging, promises fast, reliable detection of ALK mutations in NSCLC.

Press release: http://www.spectral-imaging.com/news-and-events/news?elq=666b179d69bb426e96e2bb8761261d25

Local Tumor Removal Followed by TKI Treatment May Be Effective in Lung Cancer Patients Resistant to TKIs

Many non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients who receive EGFR-tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) like erlotinib (Tarceva) and gefitinib (Iressa) develop drug resistance. Some of these patients may also have a small number of metastases (oligometastatic disease), which can be destroyed with local therapy. Local therapy methods include surgical removal, radiation, or electrical current produced by high-frequency radio waves (radiofrequency ablation). A recent study explored the use of local therapy, followed by renewed treatment with EGFR-TKIs, in patients with oligometastatic NSCLC who had become resistant to EGFR-TKIs. The treatment was well tolerated and effective, especially for patients in whom local therapy had removed all known tumors.

Research paper: http://journals.lww.com/jto/Abstract/2013/03000/Local_Therapy_with_Continued_EGFR_Tyrosine_Kinase.14.aspx

Bavituximab Looks Less Promising in Revised Clinical Trial Results

In revised results from a phase II clinical trial, Peregrine Pharmaceuticals’  experimental cancer drug bavituximab appeared less effective than in previous reports. While patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) receiving a higher dose of bavituximab plus chemotherapy as a second-line treatment survived longer than patients receiving chemotherapy alone or with a lower bavituximab dose, the difference was not statistically significant. In September 2012, preliminary results from the same trial had reported that the higher bavituximab dose doubled patients’ survival time. Since then, an internal review revealed problems with drug vial labeling, which distorted initial results.

SCUBE3 regulation of early lung cancer angiogenesis and metastatic progression

Signal peptide-CUB-EGF-like domain-containing protein 3 (SCUBE3) is strongly expressed in extremely invasive lung carcinoma. The present study used dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) to temporally assess tumor angiogenesis in SCUBE3-knockdown and control non-smallcell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) cancer cells in the early tumor stage (weeks 1-3). The results show that SCUBE3 knockdown was associated with lower vascular permeability in the tumor and effectively inhibited the metastatic potential of NSCLC, suggesting SCUBE3 is a potential target for pharmacological intervention.

Immune Cell Proteins May Help Determine Prognosis in NSCLC Patients Who Receive Radiation Therapy After Tumor Removal

Radiation therapy is traditionally thought to suppress the immune system. However, it may also stimulate immune cells that can fight against tumor growth. A recent study found that increased levels of the immune cell proteins CD4 and CD8 correlated with improved survival in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients who had received radiation therapy after tumor removal. The results suggest that immune cell protein levels could be used to help determine prognosis for patients receiving such “adjuvant therapy.”

The role of anaplastic lymphoma kinase inhibitors in the treatment of advanced nonsmall cell lung cancer

Treatment of advanced nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has rapidly changed over the last decade. On the basis of the progress made in cancer biology, the old-fashioned ‘one size fits all’ chemotherapeutic approach is shifting to a novel approach in which treatment choice is mainly based on the tumor’s biological genotype. The aim of the present review is to describe the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) translocation as a prominent molecular driver aberration in NSCLC, its prognostic and predictive role, and the new available treatment options.

Rationale for targeting the immune system through checkpoint molecule blockade in the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer

Treatments of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC)—particularly of the squamous subtype—are limited. In this article, we describe the immunomodulatory environment in NSCLC and the potential for therapeutic targeting of the immune system through cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4) and programmed death-1 (PD-1) immune-checkpoint pathway blockade.

World's First FDA Cleared ALK Automated Gene Scanner for Lung Cancer Therapy-Selection Available from ASI

Applied Spectral Imaging (ASI, www.spectral-imaging.com) announced today that its GenASIs Scan & Analysis automated microscopy platform has received FDA clearance as an aid in ALK gene analysis for lung cancer therapy selection. The introduction of automation in ALK therapy selection represents a new era in personalized medicine for patients with NSCLC (Non-Small-Cell-Lung-Cancer).

GenASIs Scan & Analysis offers clinicians a way to automatically perform genetic analysis on tissue samples, stained with the Abbott ALK™ probe kit, and identify the ALK gene rearrangement.


The tumor microenvironment can polarize innate immune cells to a pro-angiogenic phenotype. Decidual NK cells show an angiogenic phenotype, yet the role for natural killer (NK) innate lymphoid cells in tumor angiogenesis remains to be defined. We investigated NK cells from patients with surgically resected non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and controls. Our data suggest that NK cells in NSCLC act as pro-angiogenic cells, particularly evident for squamous cell carcinoma and in part mediated by TGFβ1.