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UCLA researchers discover biomarkers that predict lung cancer patient response to therapy
Date:1/31/2008

Researchers at UCLAs Jonsson Cancer Center have discovered biomarkers that predict which patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer will respond to a combination treatment of the anti-inflammatory drug Celebrex and the growth factor receptor blocker Tarceva.

The findings, published in the Feb. 1, 2008 issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, may help oncologists personalize treatment, prescribing drugs they know patients will respond to and sparing them from therapies that wont work. Both drugs are taken in pill form once a day and result in fewer side effects than conventional treatments such as chemotherapy.

If the findings are confirmed in further studies, the personalized drug combination would offer an alternative therapy in a disease population in which new, more effective treatments are needed, said Dr. Steven Dubinett, a professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine and senior author of the study. This year alone, more than 213,000 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer. Of those, more than 160,000 will die.

We need good predictors of response to targeted therapy in lung cancer so individual patients receive the specific therapy that targets the particular molecular abnormalities of their tumors, said Dubinett, who also serves as director of the cancer centers Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in lung cancer.

The findings grew out of a Phase I dose-escalation study of the drug combination in a small group of patients who had failed all other treatment options. The early phase study resulted in more patient responses than expected in people with advanced lung cancer, the most deadly stage of the disease. About 50 percent of patients in the study had tumors that decreased in size by more than 30 percent or had tumors that did not grow, a state called stable disease that is considered a positive outcome.

UCLA researchers studied tumor, blood and urine samples from the pa
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Contact: Kim Irwin
kirwin@mednet.ucla.edu
310-206-2805
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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