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People with specific kind of lung cancer respond to new targeted treatment
Date:10/28/2010

AURORA, Colo. (Oct. 28, 2010) - A study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows more than half of patients with a specific kind of lung cancer are responding positively to a treatment that targets the gene that drives their cancer.

The study shows 57 percent of patients with ALK-positive advanced non-small cell lung cancer responded partially or completely to a tablet called crizotinib, an investigational anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitor. In some cases, the cancer becomes undetectable in body scans. The data is published in the October 28 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

"This study really supports the idea that we should always try to identify the patients that could benefit from a specific treatment in advance. By looking at lung cancer at the molecular level, we were able to find the patients most likely to respond to the ALK inhibitor and put them in this trial," said D. Ross Camidge, MD, PhD, one the of the study's authors, director of the lung cancer clinical program at University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) and the University of Colorado Cancer Center (UCCC).

"At the University of Colorado Hospital, we look after one of the largest groups of ALK positive lung cancer patients in the world. About one in 20 lung cancer patients are ALK positive. Most feel better within days of beginning the drug in the trial and many have returned to active lifestyles with their cancer under excellent control." said Camidge.

There were initially 82 ALK-positive lung cancer patients in the trial of the ALK inhibitor. ALK is believed to be a key driver of tumor development in some cancers.

Updated results from the study were presented earlier this month at the 35th Congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) in Milan, Italy, reporting on a total of 113 patients and the impressive activity of the drug in these patients remained consistently high. The preliminary median pr
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Contact: Erika Matich
303-524-2780
University of Colorado Denver
Source:Eurekalert

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