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Researchers report first success of targeted therapy in most common non-small cell lung cancer
Date:11/28/2012

using a targeted therapy which could be clinically effective in this population of KRAS-mutant lung cancer patients."

Some side effects, including neutropenia (a white blood cell deficiency), neuropenia plus fever, shortness of breath, and loss of strength, were more common in the selumetinib group than the other.

Researchers and physicians will need to work on ways of managing these problems with patients, Jnne said.

NSCLC tumors with KRAS mutations are more common in current and former smokers than in those who have never smoked, and occur at a higher rate in Caucasians than in others. The study findings are especially noteworthy because mutated KRAS regardless of the type of tumor it appears in has been one of the most difficult genes to block with targeted therapies.

Selumetinib circumvents that problem by targeting not KRAS itself, but one of the gene's co-conspirators, a protein called MEK that is indirectly activated by KRAS.

"The opportunity now is to validate this approach in further clinical trials so it can be developed into a real therapy for patients," Jnne remarks. "Given that KRAS mutations are common in other cancers (found in 90 percent of pancreatic cancers and 40 percent of colon cancers), our findings may be useful in developing therapies for patients with these cancers as well."


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Contact: Robbin Ray
Robbin_Ray@dfci.harvard.edu
617-632-4090
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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