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.
-end-
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:

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.
Lung transplant patients face elevated lung cancer risk
In an American Journal of Transplantation study, lung cancer risk was increased after lung transplantation, especially in the native (non-transplanted) lung of single lung transplant recipients.
Proposed cancer treatment may boost lung cancer stem cells, study warns
Epigenetic therapies -- targeting enzymes that alter what genes are turned on or off in a cell -- are of growing interest in the cancer field as a way of making a cancer less aggressive or less malignant.
Are you at risk for lung cancer?
This question isn't only for people who've smoked a lot.
Better equipped in the fight against lung cancer
Lung cancer is the third most common type of cancer in Germany and the disease affects both men and women.
New liquid biopsy-based cancer model reveals data on deadly lung cancer
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) accounts for 14 percent of all lung cancers and is often rapidly resistant to chemotherapy resulting in poor clinical outcomes.
Cancer drug leads to 'drastic decrease' in HIV infection in lung cancer patient
Doctors in France have found the first evidence that a cancer drug may be able to eradicate HIV-infected cells in humans.
Air pollution is associated with cancer mortality beyond lung cancer
A large scale epidemiological study associates some air pollutants with kidney, bladder and colorectal cancer death.
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.
Lung cancer may go undetected in kidney cancer patients
Could lung cancer be hiding in kidney cancer patients? Researchers with the Harold C.
More Lung Cancer News and Lung Cancer Current Events

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

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.