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.

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.

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ROS1-Rearranged Lung Cancer: A Clinicopathologic and Molecular Study of 15 Surgical Cases

Recent discovery of ROS1 gene fusion in a subset of lung cancers has raised clinical interest, because ROS1 fusion-positive cancers are reportedly sensitive to kinase inhibitors. To better understand these tumors, we examined surgically resected non-small cell lung cancers.

Scientists Discover Crucial Link in the Pathway from Smoke to Lung Cancer

IKBKE, a newly identified gene that is activated by tobacco, could be a fresh target for lung cancer therapies. A new study in the journal Oncogene sheds light on the molecular pathways surrounding the activation of IKBKE, which contributes to lung carcinogenesis.

Patients tend to develop resistance to traditional cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy. However, the search for genetic therapy targets could yield individualized, powerful treatments that do not decrease in efficacy. Researchers at Florida’s Moffitt Cancer Center found that, in addition to playing a role in the development of chemoresistance, IKBKE is also part of a carcinogenic molecular pathway that can be set off by tobacco smoke. Continue reading…

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.”

Avastin-Containing Chemotherapy May Be Safe in Lung Cancer Patients with Brain Metastases

Bevacizumab (Avastin), which is approved for treatment of a number of advanced-stage cancer types, is commonly avoided in patients with brain metastases (cancer that has spread to the brain) because of fear of brain hemorrhages (bleeding in the brain). A retrospective study of 52 patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who had received chemotherapy containing Avastin found no cases of serious bleeding events and no significant differences in survival or treatment side effects between patients with or without brain metastases. Avastin may therefore be a safe treatment option in NSCLC with brain metastases.

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Overexpression of IGF1R and EGFR Genes May Worsen Lung Cancer Prognosis

The roles of the genes IGF1R and EGFR in lung cancer were examined in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who had their primary tumor surgically removed. Patients whose tumors had increased expression of both IGFR1R and EGFR were more likely to experience recurrence of the cancer after a shorter amount of time and had shorter survival times after surgery. This finding suggests that concurrent overexpression of IGF1R and EGFR is a negative prognosis factor in NSCLC and may indicate patients who are more likely to benefit from novel treatments with IGF1R inhibitors.

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Study Suggests Iressa Effective for Elderly Patients with EGFR-Mutant Lung Cancer

A retrospective study in Japan examined 55 patients aged 75 years or over with inoperable non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who had a mutation in the EGFR gene and received gefitinib (Iressa) as first-line therapy. The treatment was generally well tolerated and patients experienced longer periods without cancer progression (median: 13.8 months) and longer overall survival (median: 29.1 months) than commonly reported for similar patients. While studies using control groups will need to confirm that Iressa is indeed more effective than standard chemotherapy or a placebo, these findings suggest that Iressa may be a preferable first-line treatment in elderly patients with advanced EGFR-mutant NSCLC.

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Genetic Variation in P53 May Contribute to Lung Cancer Risk

A study of individuals with and without lung cancer in North India found that those carrying a particular version (or “polymorphism”) of a gene for the protein p53 were more likely to have lung cancer, independent of their age or smoking rate. P53 belongs to a class of proteins called “tumor suppressor proteins,” and is involved in DNA repair, regulating cell growth, and inducing cell death in damaged or abnormal cells. The findings suggest that this version of the p53 gene, called Arg72Pro, may contribute to higher susceptibility for lung cancer, at least in the North Indian population.

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