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Testing Lung Cancer Patients for Gene May Aid Treatment, Study Finds
Date:4/22/2013

val experienced by patients undergoing HER2 therapies "is a big deal in the cancer business," said Dr. Norman Edelman, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association.

"It's not absolutely a new finding, but it's another study in what is a very exciting field now in cancer," Edelman said. "Up until now, we've treated cancers ... using an elephant gun. This new field looks at the genetic makeup of individual tumors to see if we can attack them in a specific way, not a general way."

Although only a small percentage of lung cancer patients carry this gene mutation, Edelman recommended that all patients be tested for it.

"It's useful and it's being done," he said. "If I had somebody I cared about who I thought had lung cancer, I would say to only go to a center where they're doing this testing. The odds are strong they will not be benefited [by anti-HER2 drugs], but lung cancer is a devastating disease."

Mazieres and Edelman agreed that future research in this area should focus on large clinical trials, which are costly but can tease out various genetic abnormalities that are important to tumor growth.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about lung cancer.

SOURCES: Julien Mazieres, M.D., Ph.D., professor, pulmonology, Larrey Hospital, Toulouse, France; Norman Edelman, M.D., chief medical officer, American Lung Association; April 22, 2013, Journal of Clinical Oncology


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