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New research confirms need for lung cancer testing
Date:2/2/2012

nib, an ALK inhibitor drug. Now University of Colorado researchers have solved an unanswered question as to why patients who respond to crizotinib only appear to have the ALK change in a fraction of the cells in their cancers.

By looking in detail at the genetic changes present in the cancer cells they came to two major conclusions. First- cell counts below 100 percent in ALK positive tumors reflect the fact the assay misses a proportion of cells and not that the cells are truly missing the ALK change.

Second, the ALK change happens early in the development of the cancer and is likely to be a fundamental driver of the cancer's growth. The study was conducted by D. Ross Camidge, MD, PhD, the director of the lung cancer clinical program at the CU Cancer Center and University of Colorado Hospital and Marileila Varella Garcia, PhD, professor of medicine, medical oncology and pathology at University of Colorado School of Medicine.

"Knowing that ALK changes are driving the cancer and that they are not actually missing from a significant proportion of the cancer reinforces our understanding of ALK positive lung cancer. It now makes sense why targeting these changes is going to affect a very large proportion of the tumor and explains the dramatic clinical responses seen with crizotinib."

"In order to treat any disease successfully, you have to know what you are really treating," said Camidge." "It is only by understanding lung cancer better that we can hope to improve outcomes in the long term."


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Contact: Erika Matich
erika.matich@ucdenver.edu
303-524-2780
University of Colorado Denver
Source:Eurekalert

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