Nav: Home

Hope for better lung cancer treatment on horizon

June 13, 2017

A Melbourne study is set to improve treatment options for patients with the second most common type of lung cancer, lung squamous cell carcinoma, a disease for which new anti-cancer drugs are urgently needed.

The researchers demonstrated a better way to recruit the right participants for promising new anti-cancer drugs called FGFR (fibroblast growth factor receptor) inhibitors, which are being investigated for treating lung squamous cell carcinoma.

Using a research tool that mimics the complexity of human tumours, the researchers identified a 'biomarker' that would better categorise the patients who would respond to the treatment. They also showed that combining the 'targeted' FGFR inhibitors with chemotherapy had the potential to improve treatment outcomes.

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute researchers Dr Marie-Liesse Asselin-Labat, Dr Clare Weeden and Dr Aliaksei Holik worked closely with medical oncologist Professor Ben Solomon and Richard Young from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre on the study, published today in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.

Dr Asselin-Labat said the teams discovered a better biomarker for identifying those lung cancer patients who were most likely to respond to FGFR inhibitors.

"We found that high levels of the anti-cancer drug's target - FGFR1 - in a patient's tumour RNA were a better predictor of their potential response to the drug than the current tests that are used," Dr Asselin-Labat said.

Professor Solomon said the finding could improve the design of future clinical trials by selecting the right patients to participate.

"Fewer than 10 per cent of new cancer drugs make it past phase 1 clinical trials. In many cases this isn't because of the drug itself, but because of a limitation in clinical trial design," he said.

"Understanding which patients are most likely to respond to certain drugs in clinical trials is crucial both for patients to receive the best treatment, and for new drugs to make it to the clinic.

"Hopefully these data will help to improve trial outcomes by recruiting patients who otherwise might not have been matched to the right trial for them," Professor Solomon said.

In addition to identifying which patients would respond to the targeted therapy, the study found that FGFR inhibitors could be 'turbo-charged' when combined with chemotherapy, Dr Weeden said.

"FGFR inhibitors stop cancer cells from growing and adding in chemotherapy kills the cancer," she said. "Our research shows combining FGFR inhibitors with chemotherapy should be looked at in future clinical trials".

Dr Weeden said lung cancer tissue samples donated to the Victorian Cancer Biobank by patients were key to the research.

"Our laboratory models - known as patient-derived xenografts (PDX) - are the most accurate representation of real patient tumours that can be used for testing," Dr Weeden said.

"These models, using samples donated to the biobank by people with lung cancer, were crucial to define which tumours responded best to FGFR inhibitors."

The researchers hope to apply their findings to other forms of non-small cell lung cancer, which together account for 85 per cent of people with lung cancer, Dr Asselin-Labat said. "This research is a great example of the benefits of collaboration between basic scientists and clinical specialists," she said.
The research team was comprised of researchers and clinicians from The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, St Vincent's Hospital - all partners in the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC), an alliance of 10 of Melbourne's leading institutions working together to accelerate the control and cure of cancer.

The research was funded by the Viertel Foundation, the Cancer Therapeutics CRC, the Victorian Cancer Agency, the Harry Secomb Foundation, the Ian Potter Foundation, the Victorian State Government Operational Infrastructure Support and Australian Government NHMRC IRIISS.

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

Related Lung Cancer Articles:

AI helps to fight against lung cancer
Lung cancer has been the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in 2015 in United States.
Free lung-cancer screening in the Augusta area finds more than double the cancer rate of previous screenings
The first year of free lung cancer screening in the Augusta, Ga., area found more than double the rate seen in a previous large, national study as well as a Massachusetts-based screening for this No.
Antioxidants and lung cancer risk
An epidemiological study published in Frontiers in Oncology suggests that a diet high in carotenoids and vitamin C may protect against lung cancer.
Lung cancer may go undetected in kidney cancer patients
Could lung cancer be hiding in kidney cancer patients? Researchers with the Harold C.
Hitgen and Cancer Research UK's Manchester Institute enter license agreement in lung cancer
Cancer Research UK, Cancer Research Technology (CRT), the charity's commercial arm, and HitGen Ltd, a privately held biotech company focused on early drug discovery, announced today that they have entered into a licence agreement to develop a novel class of drugs against lung cancer.
Radiotherapy for invasive breast cancer increases the risk of second primary lung cancer
East Asian female breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy have a higher risk of developing second primary lung cancer.
Huntsman Cancer Institute research holds promise for personalized lung cancer treatments
New research from scientists at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah uncovered distinct types of tumors within small cell lung cancer that look and act differently from one another.
High levels of estrogen in lung tissue related to lung cancer in postmenopausal women
Researchers from Kumamoto University, Japan have found that postmenopausal women with multicentric adenocarcinoma of the lung have a higher concentration of estrogen in non-cancerous areas of the peripheral lung than similar women diagnosed with single tumor lung cancer.
Radiotherapy for lung cancer patients is linked to increased risk of non-cancer deaths
Researchers have found that treating patients who have early stage non-small cell lung cancer with a type of radiotherapy called stereotactic body radiation therapy is associated with a small but increased risk of death from causes other than cancer.
Pericardial window operation less efficient in cases of lung cancer than any other cancer
Pericardial window operation, a procedure, where abnormal quantity of malignant fluid, surrounding the heart, is drained into the neighbouring chest cavity, is commonly applied to patients diagnosed with cancer.

Related Lung Cancer Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#529 Do You Really Want to Find Out Who's Your Daddy?
At least some of you by now have probably spit into a tube and mailed it off to find out who your closest relatives are, where you might be from, and what terrible diseases might await you. But what exactly did you find out? And what did you give away? In this live panel at Awesome Con we bring in science writer Tina Saey to talk about all her DNA testing, and bioethicist Debra Mathews, to determine whether Tina should have done it at all. Related links: What FamilyTreeDNA sharing genetic data with police means for you Crime solvers embraced...