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New combo lung cancer therapy improves survival over single-line treatment
Date:12/15/2010

AURORA, Colo. (Dec. 14, 2010) A combination therapy for treating cancer discovered at the University of Colorado Cancer Center showed improved survival rates in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to results from a double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 2 trial run by Syndax Pharmaceuticals.

The phase 2 results show that the combination of entinostat (Syndax's SNDX-275) and erlotinib was more effective in treating NSCLC in patients with elevated levels of the molecular cancer marker E-cadherin than using erlotinib alone. University of Colorado Cancer Center researchers, who are faculty at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, were the first to identify elevated E-cadherin as a targetable cancer marker, the first to develop the biomarker tumor testing process for elevated E-cadherin and the first to test the combined therapy.

About 40 percent of NSCLC patients have elevated E-cadherin levels, making this a significant advance towards highly personalized treatment for lung cancer patients. Entinostat controls expression of genes that can cause resistance to conventional cancer therapies like erlotinib.

"The outcome of patients with advanced lung cancer has been disappointing historically but the identification of new molecular features and new therapies directed at these molecular features has markedly improved outcome for some patients," said Paul Bunn, MD, professor of medical oncology at the CU medical school and principal investigator of the University of Colorado Cancer Center's Specialized Program of Research Excellence in Lung Cancer, funded by the National Cancer Institute.

"Unfortunately, some of the molecular changes are quite rare," said Bunn. "A more common molecular change is the high expression of epithelial markers such as Ecadherin. HDAC inhibitors such as entinostat can increase the expression of epithelial markers and can delay the development of resistance to EGFR i
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Contact: Lindsay Lennox
lindsay.lennox@cu.edu
303-735-5518
University of Colorado Denver
Source:Eurekalert

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