Advances in the prevention and treatment of lung cancer were released today at a press briefing at the 46th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) being held from June 4 – 8 in Chicago, IIllinois (USA).

?These three studies represent distinct approaches in the fight against lung cancer, the number one cancer killer in this country. One study finds a very high rate of tumor shrinkage using a single oral targeted drug in patients with advanced lung cancer, while another demonstrates that persons 70 years or older benefit from the same chemotherapy program used in younger patients,? said briefing moderator Mark G. Kris, MD, incoming Chair of ASCO?s Cancer Communications Committee and Chief of the Thoracic Oncology Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. ?In the third, we learned that selenium supplements did not reduce the risk of developing a second lung cancer.? The studies highlighted included:

  • Drug Combination Increases Survival in Advanced Lung Cancer in the Elderly: A Phase III study featured in ASCO?s plenary session shows that a combination of two commonly used chemotherapy drugs, paclitaxel (Taxol) and carboplatin, significantly increased overall and progression-free survival in patients age 70 or older with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) compared to the standard single-agent therapy. These findings suggest that older patients should be considered for the same aggressive therapy as younger patients.
  • ALK Inhibitor Shows High Response Rate in Patients with Advanced NSCLC Harboring a Specific Gene Alteration: A study featured in an ASCO plenary session shows that the majority of patients with advanced adenocarcinoma of the lung with a specific re-arrangement of the ALK gene responded to treatment with the investigational drug crizotinib (PF-02341066), which targets that genetic defect in the cancer cell. An estimated 5% of lung cancer patients have this ALK gene alteration.
  • Selenium Doesn?t Prevent Second Lung Cancers: A Phase III randomized, double-blind study of patients at risk for developing a second lung cancer found that selenium supplements did not prevent new lung cancers.

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