Combination of S-1, Platinol, and Radiation Promising for Lung Cancer

Results from a phase II clinical trial suggest that combining the cancer drug S-1 (Teysuno) with the chemotherapy agent cisplatin (Platinol) and radiation therapy may be effective in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Patients with inoperable, locally advanced NSCLC were treated with S-1, Platinol, and radiation to the chest region. Tumors shrank at least 30% in 36 out of 41 patients. Although some patients experienced low levels of white blood cells, overall the treatment was well tolerated. S-1 is itself a combination of tegafur (a chemotherapy agent), gimeracil (which boosts tegafur levels in the body), and oteracil (which protects the stomach and gut from tegafur toxicity.


New Clinical Trial for SCLC Now Enrolling Patients

While medical research has produced significant treatment innovations for many cancer types, so far little has changed for small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Current treatment guidelines recommend chemotherapy with etoposide (Etopophos) and cisplatin (Platinol), drugs than are more than 30 years old. Relapse is common, and survival rates remain low. Now, the new  PINNACLE clinical trial will investigate a new drug against SCLC. Patients with extensive-stage SCLC who have never received any other cancer treatment will be treated with Etopophos and Platinol either by themselves or in combination with the new drug, OMP-59R5. The drug acts by inhibiting NOTCH, a protein involved in cell development and growth that plays a role in various cancers. For more information, call 646-888-4203.


EGFR Antibody Increases Survival in Lung Cancer Trial

The new cancer drug necitumumab increased survival in the SQUIRE clinical trial, a phase III trial examining squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).  Patients with stage IV squamous NSCLC who received necitumumab in addition to the chemotherapy agents cisplatin (Platinol) and gemcitabine (Gemzar) survived longer than those treated with chemotherapy alone. Necitumumab is an antibody (a type of immune system protein) that blocks the function of EGFR, a protein that plays an important role in the survival, spread, and blood supply of tumors.


Maintenance Therapy with Avastin-Alimta Combination Appears Effective in Advanced NSCLC

Maintenance therapy with bevacizumab (Avastin) and pemetrexed (Alimta) showed promising effects in the AVAPERL phase III clinical trial. Patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) were first treated with Avastin, Alimta, and cisplatin (Platinol). Those who responded to the treatment were either continued on both Avastin and Alimta or on Avastin only. Patients maintained on both drugs experienced more serious side effects, but went for longer without their cancer progressing (7.4 months on average, compared to 3.7 months for Avastin-only patients). While the study did not examine the benefits of Alimta-only maintenance treatment, the results suggest that the Avastin-Alimta combination is preferable to maintenance on Avastin only.


Chemotherapy-Tarceva Combination May Be Effective for Some Lung Cancer Patients

Results from the FASTACT clinical trial suggest that interspersing erlotinib (Tarceva) among rounds of chemotherapy improves outcomes in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Patients with advanced NSCLC received six cycles of gemcitabine (Gemzar) plus carboplatin (Paraplatin) or cisplatin (Platinol), with Tarceva added during the second half of each chemotherapy cycle. This regimen prolonged time without cancer worsening and increased survival compared to patients who had received chemotherapy and placebo, though the benefit was only seen in patients with mutations in the EGFR gene. This approach may be most useful for patients whose EGFR status is unknown, as patients with known EGFR mutations may be even better served by first-line treatment with Tarceva alone.


Maintenance Therapy with Alimta Improves Outcomes in Lung Cancer

Patients whose advanced nonsquamous, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) responds to chemotherapy with pemetrexed (Alimta) and cisplatin (Platinol) appear to benefit from continuing Alimta treatment after they have achieved remission (continuation maintenance therapy). Results from the PARAMOUNT clinical trial showed that maintenance treatment with Alimta prolonged time without cancer worsening and increased survival times compared to treatment with a placebo. Continuation maintenance therapy with Alimta may be the preferable treatment choice for patients who do not experience significant toxicity from Alimta.


Afatinib May Be Candidate for First-Line Treatment in Certain Lung Cancers

Results from the LUX-Lung 3 clinical trial show that afatinib appears to be well tolerated and more effective than chemotherapy in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have a mutation in the EGFR gene. Afatinib produced higher response rates and longer periods without cancer progression than cisplatin (Platinol) plus pemetrexed (Alimta), suggesting that it could be considered as a first-line therapy in advanced EGFR-mutant NSCLC. Afatinib, which is under priority review for approval by the FDA, may be effective in patients resistant to other EGFR inhibitors like erlotinib (Tarceva) and gefitinib (Iressa). However, no trials so far have directly compared afatinib with Tarceva or Iressa.


Gleevec May Help Preserve Fertility After Chemotherapy

Women who undergo chemotherapy often lose their fertility because the drugs used damage or kill their oocytes—immature egg cells stored in the ovaries. However, a recent study suggests that adding the cancer drug imatinib mesylate (Gleevec) to chemotherapy treatment may protect oocytes. Researchers treated mouse ovaries with the chemotherapy drug cisplatin (Platinol) either by itself or in combination with Gleevec, then implanted them into host mice. The oocytes from Gleevec-treated ovaries still suffered DNA damage from the Platinol exposure, but unlike oocytes treated with just Platinol, they did not die. Previous research suggests that the surviving oocytes could repair the damage over time after chemotherapy treatment ends. These findings offer the hope that Gleevec may help preserve fertility in chemotherapy patients.


Gleevec May Help Preserve Fertility After Chemotherapy

Women who undergo chemotherapy often lose their fertility because the drugs used damage or kill their oocytes—immature egg cells stored in the ovaries. However, a recent study suggests that adding the cancer drug imatinib mesylate (Gleevec) to chemotherapy treatment may protect oocytes. Researchers treated mouse ovaries with the chemotherapy drug cisplatin (Platinol) either by itself or in combination with Gleevec, then implanted them into host mice. The oocytes from Gleevec-treated ovaries still suffered DNA damage from the Platinol exposure, but unlike oocytes treated with just Platinol, they did not die. Previous research suggests that the surviving oocytes could repair the damage over time after chemotherapy treatment ends. These findings offer the hope that Gleevec may help preserve fertility in chemotherapy patients.