COPD Heightens Deadly Lung Cancer Risk in Smokers

“Smokers who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) may face nearly twice the risk of getting small cell lung cancer (SCLC)—the deadliest form of lung cancer—than smokers who don’t have COPD, according to a large worldwide study led by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“The study was published online September 24, 2015 in EBioMedicine.

“The new study—the largest-ever epidemiologic study of SCLC—is the first to look at how much COPD, a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe, increases smokers‘ risk of getting SCLC. Although it’s long been known that smoking is a major risk factor for lung cancer, the new study estimates the risk more precisely than before.”


Widely Used Osteoporosis Drugs May Prevent Breast, Lung and Colon Cancers

“The most commonly used medications for osteoporosis worldwide, bisphosphonates, may also prevent certain kinds of lung, breast and colon cancers, according to two studies led by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

“Bisphosphonates had been associated by past studies with slowed tumor growth in some patients but not others, and the mechanism behind these patterns was unknown. In the studies published today, an international research team showed that bisphosphonates block the abnormal growth signals passed through the human EGF receptors (HER), including the forms of this protein family that make some tumors resistant to leading treatments. The connection between bisphosphonates and HER receptors was detected first in a genetic database analysis and confirmed in studies of human cancer cells and in mice.

“ ‘Our study reveals a newfound mechanism that may enable the use of bisphosphonates in the future treatment and prevention of the many lung, breast and colon cancers driven by the HER family of receptors,’ said lead study author Mone Zaidi, MD, Professor of Medicine and of Structural and Chemical Biology within the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Director of the Mount Sinai Bone Program and a member of the Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai. ‘Having already been approved by the FDA as effective at preventing bone loss, and having a long track record of safety, these drugs could be quickly applied to cancer if we can confirm in clinical trials that this drug class also reduces cancer growth in people. It would be much more efficient than starting drug design from scratch.’ “


Preliminary Decision by CMS to Cover Lung Cancer Screening

“The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has made a preliminary decision to cover lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) for eligible patients.

“The decision was welcomed by a number of professional societies, including the American Thoracic Society, the Lung Cancer Alliance, and the American College of Chest Physicians.

“In April, the Medicare Evidence Development & Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC) voted against recommending national Medicare coverage for annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose CT in high-risk individuals. Although the MEDCAC vote isn’t binding, their ruling ignited intense pushback from healthcare professionals, patient advocates, and professional associations. More than 40 medical societies have urged CMS to provide coverage for older adults. Even politicians have entered the fray, with members of the US House and Senate asking CMS to reimburse for screening.

” ‘LDCT has been shown to reduce mortality when used to screen individuals who are at high risk for developing lung cancer because of their age and smoking history,’ Charles Powell, MD, chief of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and chair of the American Thoracic Society’s thoracic oncology assembly, said in a statement.

” ‘While there is some risk of overdiagnosis, it is outweighed by the mortality benefit that has been demonstrated with screening targeted groups of high-risk patients,’ he said.”


Melanoma-Prone Families with CDKN2A Mutations Have Higher Rates of Additional Cancers

The gist: Some people whose families have high rates of melanoma may also have an increased risk of developing lung, pancreatic, and breast cancer. Specifically, people whose families have a mutation in the CDKN2A gene are more prone to developing other types of cancer. Oncologists can perform molecular testing to see whether a person has a CDKN2A mutation.

“Researchers discovered an increased prevalence of lung, pancreatic and breast cancer in families prone to melanoma who also carry CDKN2A germline mutations.

“In a cross-sectional study, researchers analyzed the effect of CDKN2A in 702 Spanish patients at high risk of developing melanoma and associations with clinical and family history features.

“Patients with sporadic multiple primary melanoma had a CDKN2A mutation prevalence of 8.5%, and those with familial melanoma had a CDKN2A mutation prevalence of 14.1%.

“The researchers found that the number of cases in the family, the number of primary melanomas and the age of onset were each associated with the presence of CDKN2A mutation.”


Foundation Medicine: Partners with the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute for Innovative Prospective Study Linking the Genomic Drivers of Lung Cancer in Young Adults with Treatment Options

“Foundation Medicine, Inc. (NASDAQ: FMI) today announced that it has partnered with the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute (ALCMI) and Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) to launch a first of its kind, multi-center, international prospective study, the Genomics of Young Lung Cancer. This study aims to better inform treatment decisions in young adults with lung cancer by leveraging FoundationOne®, the only commercially available and validated comprehensive genomic profile, to look beyond the genomic alterations commonly associated with lung cancer and identify the novel and unique alterations that present in lung cancers in young adults. This insight, in combination with the expertise of leading academic institutions and peer-reviewed literature, will be applied to determine more effective treatment options and tailor therapies precisely for these distinct and underserved patients.

“In 2014, 224,000 new cases of lung cancer are expected to be diagnosed; 3,700 of these are expected to occur in patients under the age of 45. Eighty percent of new lung cancer diagnoses are made in former or never-smokers, and three percent of cancer diagnoses made in patients younger than 45 will be lung cancer1.

“ ‘Lung cancer presents in a unique manner in young adults, who often do not exhibit the characteristic symptoms and signs of a typical patient with lung cancer,’ said Steven Young, President and COO of ALCMI. ‘Despite an environment of rapidly expanding treatment options available for lung cancer, a lack of understanding of comprehensive testing for the molecular drivers of the disease specifically in young adults restricts the effective treatments available to patients at a tragically early stage in their lives. Through this initial study, we hope to address this gap in knowledge and access, and lay the groundwork to routinely identify more effective treatment options for these patients.’ ”


More than 130 Lawmakers Urge Coverage for Lung Cancer Test that Could Cost Medicare Billions

“More than 130 lawmakers are urging the Obama administration to expand coverage for a lung-cancer test under Medicare that could cost the program billons, calling the screening important for vulnerable seniors.

“In a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the lawmakers called for a timely decision on coverage for low-dose CT scans for older patients at higher risk of developing lung cancer.”


No Long-Term Anxiety or Distress Associated with Low-Dose Computed Tomography Screening

“Examination and review of several studies that evaluated patient-centered outcomes for individuals undergoing low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening for lung cancer found that screening does not appear to significantly influence overall health-related quality of life or result in long-term changes in anxiety or distress, but that positive results in the short-term, do increase distress levels.”


Improved Diagnostic Performance of Low-Dose Computed Tomography Screening

“Investigators of the COSMOS (Continuous Observation of SMOking Subjects) study show good compliance and patient survival outcomes using a 5-year low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening protocol in individuals at high-risk of developing lung cancer. This protocol had fewer patients requiring further diagnostic follow-up compared to other studies, including the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLST), with a minimal number of incorrect diagnoses.”