Every year, thousands of people gather in Chicago, Illinois, for the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. The largest meeting of its kind, ASCO brings together doctors, researchers, nurses, patient advocates, pharmaceutical company representatives, and more to discuss the latest in cancer research. Here are some of the most exciting new developments in lung cancer research presented last week at ASCO 2014: Continue reading…
Most new cancer drugs fail clinical testing. Because they don’t make it to the pharmacy, we usually hear very little about them. But widespread media coverage made it hard to ignore the recent termination of a trial testing the drug onartuzumab. Details of the story raise concerns about the patient enrollment processes of some clinical trials. Continue reading…
“An independent data monitoring committee recommended that a phase 3 study designed to evaluate the combination of onartuzumab and erlotinib in a subset of patients with non–small cell lung cancer be stopped due to lack of clinically meaningful efficacy, according to a press release issued by the drugs’ manufacturer.
“The randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled MetLung study compared the humanized monoclonal antibody onartuzumab (MetMab, Genentech) plus the protein kinase inhibitor erlotinib(Tarceva, Genentech) vs. erlotinib alone in patients with previously treated advanced NSCLC whose tumors were MET-positive.”
In patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), increased hepatocyte growth factor/MET signaling is associated with poor prognosis and acquired resistance to EGFR-targeted treatment. In a phase II study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, David R. Spigel, MD, of Sarah Cannon Research Institute, and colleagues examined whether dual inhibition of MET/EGFR with the anti-MET monoclonal antibody onartuzumab and erlotinib (Tarceva) could provide clinical benefit in patients with advanced NSCLC. They found that the combination improved progression-free survival and overall survival among MET-positive patients but not among MET-negative patients.
The cell protein MET is overexpressed in more than half of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) tumors. MET overexpression is associated with worse prognoses and plays a role in drug resistance to EGFR inhibitors like erlotinib (Tarceva). A recent clinical trial examined the effects of onartuzumab, which inhibits MET function, on recurrent NSCLC. Patients received either onartuzumab and Tarceva or Tarceva only. In patients who overexpressed MET, adding onartuzumab increased the time until cancer progression and prolonged overall survival. In contrast, in patients without MET overexpression, adding onartuzumab worsened outcomes. This finding highlights the importance of diagnostic testing in choosing the best cancer treatment. A clinical trial investigating the onartuzumab-Tarceva combination in MET-overexpressing patients only is currently enrolling participants.
Increased hepatocyte growth factor/MET signaling is associated with poor prognosis and acquired resistance to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) –targeted drugs in patients with non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We investigated whether dual inhibition of MET/EGFR results in clinical benefit in patients with NSCLC.
Onartuzumab plus erlotinib was associated with improved progression-free survival and overall survival in the MET-positive population. These results combined with the worse outcomes observed in MET-negative patients treated with onartuzumab highlight the importance of diagnostic testing in drug development.