AURORA, Colo. (May 5, 2014) - The Journal of Clinical Oncology reports the case of a woman diagnosed with advanced, incurable lung cancer, whose disease was in fact early stage, curable lung cancer with additional lung lesions due to a rare antibiotic side effect. When her primary lung tumor was surgically removed, and the antibiotic stopped, the 62-year-old woman recovered and may now be cured.
"In a good example of collaboration with our local oncology community, my colleague wanted a second opinion to ensure his patient got the best possible treatment plan established from the get-go, said Ross Camidge, MD, PhD, director of the thoracic oncology clinical program at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and the senior author of the study. "Initially, they were probably looking for some kind of molecular profiling and possibly a novel drug or combination of drugs in a clinical trial. Instead, through some great teamwork, we were able to reveal something unexpected and radically change her prognosis."
The patient, a former smoker, visited her doctor with a cough, fatigue and weight loss. Her scans revealed a dominant mass in her right lung with multiple smaller nodules and infiltrates throughout both lungs. The biggest mass was biopsied and showed non-small cell lung cancer. Because the disease appeared throughout both lungs, the patient appeared to have advanced stage or metastatic lung cancer, a condition which nationally, is associated with a 5-year survival rate of less than 3 percent.
"But then Eiko Browning, MD, our outstanding senior trainee in oncology, began to notice a series of clues that something else was happening," said Camidge.
First, there were changes in the patient's blood tests showing some damage to the liver, but there were no signs of cancer in the liver. Second, the CU team noticed she also had a long history of urinary tract infections treated with the antibiotic, nitrofurantoin.
|Contact: Erika Matich|
University of Colorado Denver