The important second part of this project was to come up with a therapy option for the tumors that werent sensitive, Potti said.
Its one thing for a doctor to tell a patient that he wont respond to cisplatin, he said, but we have to know what to do when he asks what do you have for me"
The researchers then examined several common second-line therapies, such as a drug called pemetrexed which uses a different mechanism of action to attack NSCLC tumors.
We found the strongest inverse correlation between tumors that were sensitive to cisplatin and those that were sensitive to pemetrexed, Potti said. This suggests that some patients who are not likely to respond to cisplatin should perhaps be treated with pemetrexed first.
A clinical trial -- the first of its kind in lung cancer -- based on the findings of genomics studies is currently underway at Duke. These are not experimental drugs, we know they work, Potti said. Its just a matter of giving each patient the right one on the first try.
Almost 180,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year in the United States, and about 160,000 patients die from the disease yearly, according to the American Cancer Society. Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common form of the disease -- accounting for 80 percent of all cases.
Almost half of NSCLC patients are found to have stage four disease, meaning the cancer has spread beyond the lung into other areas of the body. Currently, only 15 to 30 percent of people treated for stage four lung cancer will be alive a year later and only two percent are alive after five years, making this the deadliest
|Contact: Lauren Shaftel Williams|
Duke University Medical Center