Cancers that arise in the lung are mostly of the type known as NSCLC (non-small cell lung carcinoma). A much smaller proportion of lung tumors arise from neuroendocrine cells in the lungs. These cells (which are also found in most other organs) secrete a variety of hormones that are necessary for normal organ function, as well as for healing after injury or infection. Like other lung cells, neuroendocrine cells may transform to become cancers. Lung cancers that arise from neuroendocrine cells are called pulmonary neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), or lung NETs. Continue reading…
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is a fatal disease that has not seen new drug approvals for the last 17 years. Considering the relative success of ‘immune checkpoint inhibitors’ in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), it is not surprising that several abstracts recently presented at the 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting were devoted to clinical trials testing these trendy, immune system-boosting drugs in people with SCLC. Continue reading…
“PharmaMar today announced data from a Phase 1b study of the transcriptional inhibitor PM1183 in combination with doxorubicin in second line therapy in patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC) showing that the treatment induced objective responses in 67% of the patients, including 10% of them where all signs of cancer disappeared (complete responses). Every patient with SCLC denominated primary chemotherapy-sensitive (their chemotherapy-free interval (CTFI) is more than 90 days) responded to treatment, including 18% of complete responses. In primary chemotherapy-resistant patients, where cancer was progressing within 90 days or less of previous chemotherapy, a remarkable 30% achieved a response. Notably, the treatment resulted in durable responses, with an overall progression-free survival (PFS) of 4.6 months, which was 3.6 months in resistant patients. The most common adverse drug reaction was reversible myelosuppresion but no cardiotoxicity or drug-related deaths were observed.
“ ‘The rate, depth and length of responses that we have observed with this treatment in the second-line setting are remarkable, even in those patients that are usually considered harder to treat”, said Dr. Martin Forster, University College Hospital, London, UK.
“ ‘Small cell lung cancer is an unmet clinical need with very few recent advances and the scientific community is committed to help new develop effective therapies.’ ”
“PharmaMar announces that it will present several clinical studies to showcase the data obtained in various tumor types, including SCLC, soft tissue sarcoma and mesothelioma during the 51st American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago (ASCO; May 29-June 2). Abstracts have been selected for oral presentation, poster discussion session and general poster presentation. The studies presented by the Company will include the first-in-class drug YONDELIS® (trabectedin), and the second-generation of this class, PM1183 (lurbinectedin). PM1183 is an inhibitor of the transcriptional machinery and a DNA repair complex, which have proven to be crucial in different tumor types, including SCLC, soft tissue sarcoma and ovarian cancer. In addition, these drugs have been shown to have an effect on the tumor microenvironment by targeting tumor-associated macrophages, which is relevant for cancers such as mesothelioma and ovarian cancer, in which chronic inflammation seems to be a hallmark of the disease.”
“Although surgical resection resulted in reasonable outcomes among well-chosen patients with early-stage small cell lung cancer, use of the treatment approach in this setting remains controversial, according to study results.
“Intrathoracic recurrence — the most common treatment failure in the study — occurred more frequently in patients who underwent limited resections. Thus, the researchers determined additional research is needed to assess the overall efficacy of combining surgery with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
“ ‘Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) accounts for approximately 15% of the primary lung cancer diagnoses in the United States each year,’ Yolanda I. Garces, MD, of the department of radiation oncology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues wrote. ‘The current National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines recommend surgical resection as the preferred first-line treatment for patients with early-stage, node-negative disease. The purpose of this study was to evaluate clinical outcomes and patterns of recurrence in a single-institution series of patients undergoing curative resection of SCLC.’ ”
“The use of maintenance sunitinib improved progression-free survival (PFS) over placebo among patients with untreated extensive-stage small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) in a new phase II study.
“ ‘Most of the 30,000 patients newly diagnosed each year with SCLC in the United States have extensive-stage disease,’ wrote study authors led by Neal E. Ready, MD, PhD, of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. ‘Despite achieving good disease control initially, patients with SCLC usually experience relapse within 6 months of first-line chemotherapy and often do not respond to subsequent chemotherapy.’
“In previous studies, maintenance chemotherapy after standard platinum-based therapy did not show any overall survival benefit. The new study aimed to test whether sunitinib, a small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor that inhibits VEGF receptors and other targets. Results of the new study were published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
“The study enrolled a total of 144 patients, 49 of whom progressed or did not complete induction chemotherapy; 95 patients were randomly assigned to a placebo maintenance therapy group (46 patients) or a sunitinib maintenance therapy group (49 patients), and five patients on each arm did not receive the maintenance therapy. Sunitinib patients received 37.5 mg per day until progression.”
“Immunomedics, Inc., (Nasdaq:IMMU) today announced that 33% of patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and 31% with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) had their tumor reduced in size by 30% or more, after being treated with sacituzumab govitecan, the Company’s lead investigational antibody-drug conjugate (ADC). Including patients that reported stable disease as their best response, the ADC controls the progression of the cancer in 75% and 56% of NSCLC and SCLC patients, respectively. These patients had either failed to respond to their last lung cancer therapies or their cancer had returned or progressed.
“Dr. Francois Wilhelm, Chief Medical Officer, presented the updated results at the 15th Annual Targeted Therapies of Lung Cancer Meeting, an invitation-only meeting sponsored by The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC).
“Sacituzumab govitecan is a next generation ADC designed for targeted therapy of solid cancers. The agent was created by site-specifically conjugating a TROP-2-targeting antibody with a high ratio of a moderately toxic drug, SN-38, using a pH sensitive linker. TROP-2 is a receptor found on many human cancer cells, such as cancers of the breast, cervix, colon and rectum, kidney, liver, lung, ovary, pancreas, and prostate, but with only limited expression in normal human tissues. In an animal model of human pancreatic cancer, the ADC delivered up to 135-times the amount of SN-38 to the tumor than when irinotecan, the parent drug of SN-38, was given.”
The gist: A recent study found that people with stage I small cell lung cancer (SCLC) might survive longer if they have surgery to remove part of the lung affected by cancer. The study compared survival rates between patients who had surgery and patients who had other forms of treatment. Five years after treatment, 62% of the patients who had surgery were still alive, compared to 25% of the patients who did not have surgery.
“Patients with stage I limited-disease small cell lung cancer who underwent surgical resection demonstrated a significant survival advantage compared with those who received nonsurgical treatment, according to results of a retrospective study.
“Surgical resection also appeared effective in some patients with stage II or stage II limited-disease small cell lung cancer (LD-SCLC), results showed.
“ ‘Although chemotherapy and radiotherapy are recommended for patients with LD-SCLC, several series have reported favorable survival outcomes even in patients with stage II and stage III disease who underwent surgical resection,’ Tomoyoshi Takenaka, MD,of the department of thoracic oncology at National Kyushu Cancer Center in Fukuoka, Japan, and colleagues wrote.
“In the current study, Takenaka and colleagues analyzed the outcomes of 277 patients aged 38 to 89 years (median, 66 years; 81% men) treated for LD-SCLC from 1974 to 2011 at National Kyushu Cancer Center…
“ ‘Surgical resection provided a survival benefit for the patients with clinical stage I SCLC and some cases of stage II or stage III disease in this study,’ Takenaka and colleagues wrote. ‘The outcomes of treatment for SCLC have been improved beginning in the 2000s. A further prospective study is warranted to clarity the possibility of extending the indications for surgical resection to curatively treat LD-SCLC in the present situation.’ ”
The gist: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted “orphan drug” designation to a new drug called tarextumab for small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and pancreatic cancer. The designation will make it easier for the drug maker to successfully develop tarextumab and get it to patients in the U.S. Tarextumab has shown promise in patients in a clinical trial. It is given to patients in combination with chemotherapy.
“The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted orphan drug designation to the OncoMed agent tarextumab for the treatment of pancreatic cancer and lung cancer. Tarextumab (formerly OMP-59R5) is a fully human monoclonal antibody targeting the Notch 2/3 receptors.
“ ‘We are excited to receive two separate orphan drug designations for tarextumab for the treatment of pancreatic and small-cell lung cancer,’ said Paul J. Hastings, OncoMed’s chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement.
“Earlier this month the drug company announced final phase 1b clinical and biomarker data from the ALPINE (Antibody Therapy in First-Line Pancreatic Cancer Investigating Anti-Notch Efficacy and Safety) study, which tested tarextumab in combination with gemcitabine plus nab-paclitaxel in pancreatic cancer.
“Of the 29 patients in the trial, 21 (73%) achieved either a partial response or stable disease with the combination therapy.”