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Dana-Farber: Study reports first success of targeted therapy in type of non-small cell lung cancer
Date:5/31/2012

BOSTONA novel compound has become the first targeted therapy to benefit patients with the most common genetic subtype of lung cancer, an international clinical trial led by scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and other institutions will report at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) June 1-5 in Chicago.

Pasi A. Jnne, MD, PhD, scientific co-director of Dana-Farber's Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science, will present the findings from the randomized phase II study (abstract 7503) on Monday, June 4, 3 p.m. CT, E Hall D2, McCormick Place.

The study involved 87 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients whose tumors carry a mutation in the gene KRAS. Such tumors account for about 20 percent of NSCLC cases, but no targeted therapy has proved effective against them in previous clinical research. The drug under investigation, selumetinib, doesn't attack KRAS directly, but interferes with one of its molecular henchmen, a protein called MEK.

Participants in the study all had advanced stages of the disease. They received the standard chemotherapy agent docetaxel in combination with either selumetinib or a placebo.

By many measures the rate and duration of response to treatment, change in tumor size, and proportion of patients alive and showing no signs of advancing disease -- the group receiving selumetinib did significantly better than the other group. Most clinically significant were the improved rate of response to treatment (37 percent compared to 0 percent in the placebo arm) and prolonged progression-free survival (5.3 months compared to 2.1 months in the placebo arm). Although patients in the selumetinib group survived longer, on average, than those in the placebo group 9.4 months compared to 5.2 months the improvement was not considered statistically significant.

"This clinical trial demonstrates that a combination of chemotherapy and selumetinib is significantly
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Contact: Bill Schaller
william_schaller@dfci.harvard.edu
617-632-4090
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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