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Benefit of targeted lung cancer therapy confirmed
Date:6/3/2011

AURORA, Colo. (June 3, 2011) A drug that targets a specific type of lung cancer shows a dramatic response in more than half of the people who take it. The drug, called crizotinib, has been in clinical trials since 2006, and the results from the largest group of patients to take it within the first of these clinical trials are being presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

The patients taking crizotinib have anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) positive advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and the drug targets the gene that drives this particular kind of cancer. In 119 patients, crizotinib produces some degree of shrinkage in the tumors of the majority of patients with dramatic responses in more than 60 percent of cases. The responses last approximately 48 weeks.

D. Ross Camidge, MD, PhD, the director of the lung cancer clinical program at University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) and the University of Colorado Cancer Center, will be presenting the latest results from the crizotinib trial at ASCO. "The strength of crizotinib in ALK positive lung cancer was apparent when less than 20 patients were taking part in the trial. The benefit of targeting this kind of cancer with this particular drug has only been confirmed as more patients enrolled in the trial," said Camidge. "This demonstrates the efficacy of new drugs can be reliably revealed even among small groups of patients when the cancers being tested are molecularly uniform."

Medical oncologists at UCH care for one of the largest groups of ALK positive lung cancer patients in the world. Approximately one in 20 lung cancer patients is ALK positive - their responses to crizotinib are dramatic, the side effects are usually mild and often improve over time.

Camidge believes the results being seen with crizotinib open the door to a new way of thinking when it comes to cancer treatment. "We need to continue testing drugs in mole
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Contact: Erika Matich
erika.matich@ucdenver.edu
720-848-7852
University of Colorado Denver
Source:Eurekalert

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