• A20 deletion is associated with copy number gain at the TNFA/B/C locus and occurs preferentially in translocation-negative MALT lymphoma of the ocular adnexa and salivary glands.

      Chanudet, E; Ye, Hongtao; Ferry, J; Bacon, C M; Adam, P; Müller-Hermelink, H K; Radford, John A; Pileri, S A; Ichimura, K; Collins, V P; et al. (2009-02)
      The genetic basis of MALT lymphoma is largely unknown. Characteristic chromosomal translocations are frequently associated with gastric and pulmonary cases, but are rare at other sites. We compared the genetic profiles of 33 ocular adnexal and 25 pulmonary MALT lymphomas by 1 Mb array-comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) and revealed recurrent 6q23 losses and 6p21.2-6p22.1 gains exclusive to ocular cases. High-resolution chromosome 6 tile-path array-CGH identified NF-kappaB inhibitor A20 as the target of 6q23.3 deletion and TNFA/B/C locus as a putative target of 6p21.2-22.1 gain. Interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization showed that A20 deletion occurred in MALT lymphoma of the ocular adnexa (8/42=19%), salivary gland (2/24=8%), thyroid (1/9=11%) and liver (1/2), but not in the lung (26), stomach (45) and skin (13). Homozygous deletion was observed in three cases. A20 deletion and TNFA/B/C gain were significantly associated (p<0.001) and exclusively found in cases without characteristic translocation. In ocular cases, A20 deletion was associated with concurrent involvement of different adnexal tissues or extraocular sites at diagnosis (p=0.007), a higher proportion of relapse (67% versus 37%) and a shorter relapse-free survival (p=0.033). A20 deletion and gain at TNFA/B/C locus may thus play an important role in the development of translocation-negative MALT lymphoma.
    • Antivascular agents for non-small-cell lung cancer: current status and future directions.

      Amir, Eitan; Mandoky, Laszlo; Blackhall, Fiona H; Thatcher, Nick; Klepetko, Walter; Ankersmit, Hendrik Jan; Reza Hoda, Mir Ali; Ostoros, Gyula; Dank, Magdolna; Dome, Balazs; et al. (2009-11)
      BACKGROUND: Despite improvements in surgery and chemo(radio)therapy which have allowed for modest advances in the treatment of patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), survival remains poor and further improvements are needed. Attention over recent years has focused, therefore, on targeted therapies, with notable success in the development of antivascular drugs. OBJECTIVE: To summarize the current knowledge on antivascular therapy in patients with NSCLC. METHOD: Review of randomized controlled trials exploring treatment of NSCLC patients with antivascular drugs. RESULTS/CONCLUSION: Bevacizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody against the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), when added to cytotoxic chemotherapy, was the first treatment to prolong the overall survival of patients with advanced NSCLC beyond 12 months, a significant breakthrough in the management of advanced NSCLC. Small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors and alternative antivascular strategies such as VEGF-trap and vascular disrupting agents are also being investigated and have shown promise in clinical trials. This review summarizes the most recent and important findings in antivascular agents in NSCLC.
    • Clinical experience with gefitinib in Indian patients.

      Parikh, Purvish; Chang, Alex; Nag, Shona; Digumarti, Raghunadharao; Bhattacharyya, Gouri Shankar; Doval, Dinesh Chandra; Babu, Govind; Chacko, Raju Titus; Advani, Suresh; Ranade, Anantbhushan; et al. (2008-04)
      INTRODUCTION: Treatment options are limited in patients with advanced or refractory non-small cell lung cancer and lead to suboptimal outcome and/or benefit. The epidermal growth factor tyrosine kinase inhibitor gefitinib (IRESSA) has been approved in many countries. Increased responsiveness to gefitinib has been demonstrated in particular subsets of patients, for example never smokers and patients of Asian origin. However, to date, little is known of its use specifically in patients from India. METHODS: Retrospective ad hoc analysis of clinical data from experience with gefitinib in patients with advanced NSCLC from India enrolled in the IRESSA Survival Evaluation in Lung (ISEL) study (n = 77) or included in the gefitinib expanded-access program in India (n = 133). RESULTS: Among Indian patients enrolled in the ISEL study, median survival was 6.4 months with gefitinib and 5.1 month with placebo. The objective response rate in Indian patients was 14% with gefitinib versus 0% with placebo. In ISEL, tolerability data from Indian patients were consistent with the overall study population. In the Indian gefitinib expanded-access program, median survival was 6 months and gefitinib was well tolerated. CONCLUSIONS: Gefitinib seems well tolerated in Indian patients with advanced NSCLC, with some clinical benefit observed.
    • Epidermal growth factor receptor immunohistochemistry: comparison of antibodies and cutoff points to predict benefit from gefitinib in a phase 3 placebo-controlled study in advanced nonsmall-cell lung cancer.

      Hirsch, Fred R; Dziadziuszko, Rafal; Thatcher, Nick; Mann, Helen; Watkins, Claire; Parums, Dinah V; Speake, Georgina; Holloway, Brian; Bunn, Paul A; Franklin, Wilbur A; et al. (2008-03-01)
      BACKGROUND: The ISEL (Iressa Survival Evaluation in Lung Cancer) clinical trial evaluated the efficacy of gefitinib versus placebo in pretreated nonsmall-cell lung cancer patients. Two different antibodies, scoring systems, and cutoff points of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) protein expression were compared to predict response and survival of enrolled patients. METHODS: EGFR expression was assessed in tumor samples by immunohistochemistry using the Dako EGFR pharmDx kit (scoring percent of tumor cells with positive staining) and Zymed monoclonal antibody clone 31G7 (scoring staining index derived from proportion of positive cells times staining intensity). RESULTS: Data for EGFR expression were available for 379 patients for Dako and 357 patients for Zymed antibody (22% and 21%, respectively, of trial population). Objective response rates in gefitinib-treated EGFR-positive patients defined with various cutpoints with Dako antibody varied between 8% and 12%, and with Zymed antibody between 10% and 13%. Lower cutoff points with Dako antibody provided the best discrimination between EGFR-positive and EGFR-negative patients for survival hazard ratios comparing gefitinib to placebo, with a significant treatment/cutoff point interaction for 10% cutoff point (P = .049). A similar but less apparent trend was noted for Zymed antibody, although the discrimination between hazard ratios was not significant for any cutoff point analyzed. CONCLUSIONS: Assessment with the Dako PharmDx kit and percentage of cells with positive staining may provide more accurate prediction of differential effect on survival with gefitinib than assessment with Zymed antibody and staining index. Using higher cutpoints to define positivity does not improve test discrimination.
    • Evaluation of circulating tumor cells and serological cell death biomarkers in small cell lung cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

      Hou, Jian-Mei; Greystoke, Alastair; Lancashire, Lee J; Cummings, Jeffrey; Ward, Timothy H; Board, Ruth E; Amir, Eitan; Hughes, Sarah; Krebs, Matthew G; Hughes, Andrew; et al. (2009-08)
      Serological cell death biomarkers and circulating tumor cells (CTCs) have potential uses as tools for pharmacodynamic blood-based assays and their subsequent application to early clinical trials. In this study, we evaluated both the expression and clinical significance of CTCs and serological cell death biomarkers in patients with small cell lung cancer. Blood samples from 88 patients were assayed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for various cytokeratin 18 products (eg, M65, cell death, M30, and apoptosis) as well as nucleosomal DNA. CTCs (per 7.5 ml of blood) were quantified using Veridex CellSearch technology. Before therapeutic treatment, cell death biomarkers were elevated in patients compared with controls. CTCs were detected in 86% of patients; additionally, CD56 was detectable in CTCs, confirming their neoplastic origin. M30 levels correlated with the percentage of apoptotic CTCs. M30, M65, lactate dehydrogenase, and CTC number were prognostic for patient survival as determined by univariate analysis. Using multivariate analysis, both lactate dehydrogenase and M65 levels remained significant. CTC number fell following chemotherapy, whereas levels of serological cell death biomarkers peaked at 48 hours and fell by day 22, mirroring the tumor response. A 48-hour rise in nucleosomal DNA and M30 levels was associated with early response and severe toxicity, respectively. Our results provide a rationale to include the use of serological biomarkers and CTCs in early clinical trials of new agents for small cell lung cancer.
    • Extensive-stage small-cell lung cancer--moving beyond response rate?

      Ferraldeschi, Roberta; Lorigan, Paul C (2009-05)
    • Lung cancer after treatment for breast cancer.

      Lorigan, Paul C; Califano, Raffaele; Faivre-Finn, Corinne; Howell, Anthony; Thatcher, Nick; Cancer Research UK Department of Medical Oncology, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK. (2010-06-09)
      Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, and the second most common cause of cancer death after lung cancer. Improvements in the outcome of breast cancer mean that more patients are living longer and are, therefore, at risk of developing a second malignancy. The aim of this review is to present the current understanding of the risk of lung cancer arising in patients previously treated for early stage breast cancer. We review data on the effect of treatment factors (ie, surgery type, radiotherapy technique, and adjuvant chemotherapy) and patient factors (ie, age and smoking) on the risk of developing a subsequent lung cancer. The evidence suggests that older radiotherapy techniques were associated with a substantially increased risk of developing lung cancer in the ipsilateral lung, but there is no clear evidence of an increased risk with modern techniques. Smoking is an important risk factor, and increases the risk of lung cancer in those receiving radiotherapy. Adjuvant chemotherapy is not significantly associated with an increased risk. The risk of developing lung cancer increases with time elapsed since treatment, but any effect of age at treatment is unclear.
    • Maintenance and consolidation therapy in patients with unresectable stage III/IV non-small cell lung cancer.

      Thatcher, Nick; Heighway, Jim; Department of Medical Oncology, Christie Hospital NHS Trust, Wilmslow Road, Manchester M20 4BX, United Kingdom. nick.thatcher@christie.nhs.uk (2010)
      Globally, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality. Current chemotherapy combinations for the first-line treatment of advanced disease (stage IIIB with malignant pleural effusion/stage IV) and chemoradiotherapy regimens for the treatment of unresectable locally advanced disease (stage IIIA and IIIB without malignant pleural effusion) appear to have reached an efficacy plateau. The addition of new compounds including targeted agents to standard first-line cytotoxic doublets, administered concurrently and/or as maintenance therapy in patients who have not experienced disease progression after such treatment, has been shown to improve efficacy beyond this plateau in patients with advanced disease. However, to date, such approaches have been less successful in the treatment of patients with unresectable locally advanced stage III disease. The purpose of this review is to summarize the data from recent randomized phase III studies involving agents administered as maintenance or consolidation therapy in the treatment of unresectable stage III/IV non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). A possible alternative approach to the use of cytotoxic or molecularly targeted agents in this setting is the administration of therapeutic anticancer vaccines, which are designed to stimulate a host immunological response against the tumor. Current data in relation to the potential of vaccine therapy for NSCLC are therefore also reviewed, with a particular focus on belagenpumatucel-L and L-BLP25 vaccines, which are currently undergoing phase III evaluation as maintenance therapies in patients with unresectable stage III/IV NSCLC who have tumor control following first-line therapy.
    • Management of unresectable stage III non-small-cell lung cancer with combined-modality therapy: a review of the current literature and recommendations for treatment.

      Bayman, Neil A; Blackhall, Fiona H; Jain, Pooja; Lee, Lip W; Thatcher, Nick; Faivre-Finn, Corinne; Department of Clinical Oncology, Christie Hospital, Manchester, UK. neil.bayman@christie.nhs.uk (2008-03)
      Lung cancer remains the most common cause of cancer deaths in the United Kingdom, and long-term survival from lung cancer has hardly improved over the past 30 years. The benefit of combined-modality therapy with chemotherapy and radiation therapy in improving survival for patients with inoperable non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) was discovered over 10 years ago. In this comprehensive literature review, we discuss the current status of combined-modality therapy for unresectable stage III NSCLC. The efficacy and toxicity of different chemoradiation therapy regimens are presented. The potential role of novel and targeted therapies and radiation dose escalation is also considered. Finally, recommendations are made for the treatment of unresectable stage III NSCLC.
    • Multiplexed assays for detection of mutations in PIK3CA.

      Board, Ruth E; Thelwell, Nicola J; Ravetto, Paul F; Little, Stephen; Ranson, Malcolm R; Dive, Caroline; Hughes, Andrew; Whitcombe, David; Discovery Medicine, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Macclesfield, UK. ruth.board@astrazeneca.com (2008-04)
      BACKGROUND: Mutations in the PIK3CA gene (phosphoinositide-3-kinase, catalytic, alpha polypeptide) have recently been described in a number of cancers, and their detection is currently limited because of the low sensitivity of conventional sequencing techniques. METHODS: We combined Amplification Refractory Mutation System (ARMS; AstraZeneca) allele-specific PCR and Scorpions (DxS) to develop assays for tumor-borne PIK3CA mutations and used real-time PCR to develop high-throughput multiplexed assays for the most commonly reported PIK3CA mutants (H1047L, H1047R, E542K, E545K). RESULTS: These assays were more sensitive than sequencing and could detect 5 copies of mutant DNA in proportions as low as 0.1% of the total DNA. We assayed DNA extracted from human tumors and detected PIK3CA mutation frequencies of 10.2% in colorectal cancer, 38.7% in breast cancer, 1.9% in lung cancer, and 2.9% in melanoma. In contrast, sequencing detected only 53% of the mutations detected by our assay. CONCLUSIONS: Multiplexed assays, which can easily be applied to clinical samples, have been developed for the detection of PIK3CA mutations.
    • No study left behind: a network meta-analysis in non-small-cell lung cancer demonstrating the importance of considering all relevant data.

      Hawkins, Neil; Scott, David A; Woods, Beth S; Thatcher, Nick; Oxford Outcomes Ltd., Oxford, UK. neil.hawkins@oxfordoutcomes.com (2009-09)
      OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate the importance of considering all relevant indirect data in a network meta-analysis of treatments for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). METHODS: A recent National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence appraisal focussed on the indirect comparison of docetaxel with erlotinib in second-line treatment of NSCLC based on trials including a common comparator. We compared the results of this analysis to a network meta-analysis including other trials that formed a network of evidence. We also examined the importance of allowing for the correlations between the estimated treatment effects that can arise when analysing such networks. RESULTS: The analysis of the restricted network including only trials of docetaxel and erlotinib linked via the common placebo comparator produced an estimated mean hazard ratio (HR) for erlotinib compared with docetaxel of 1.55 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.72-2.97). In contrast, the network meta-analysis produced an estimated HR for erlotinib compared with docetaxel of 0.83 (95% CI 0.65-1.06). Analyzing the wider network improved the precision of estimated treatment effects, altered their rankings and also allowed further treatments to be compared. Some of the estimated treatment effects from the wider network were highly correlated. CONCLUSIONS: This empirical example shows the importance of considering all potentially relevant data when comparing treatments. Care should therefore be taken to consider all relevant information, including correlations induced by the network of trial data, when comparing treatments.
    • Optimisation of circulating biomarkers of cell death for routine clinical use.

      Greystoke, Alastair; Cummings, Jeffrey; Ward, Timothy H; Simpson, Kathryn L; Renehan, Andrew G; Butt, Fouziah; Moore, David; Gietema, J; Blackhall, Fiona H; Ranson, Malcolm R; et al. (2008-05)
      BACKGROUND: M30 and M65 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays detect circulating cytokeratin 18 fragments released during caspase-dependent or total cell death, respectively, and have potential as biomarkers in epithelial cancers. While these assays have been validated, their robustness for routine clinical use is unknown. PATIENTS AND METHODS: M30 and M65 were measured in matched serum and plasma samples from 31 lung cancer patients and 18 controls. RESULTS: Time allowable between sample acquisition and processing is critical for assays in clinical use. A 4-h delay in processing at room temperature increased M30 (P < 0.0001), an effect minimised by incubation on ice. M30 and M65 in serum were resistant to processing variations including delays. Serum and plasma measurements correlated well although M30 but not M65 was lower in serum (P < 0.0005). Less variation between duplicate assays was observed in serum. Prolonged storage (-80 degrees C) led to increased M30 (12%, 6 months; 34%, 1 year). Sample dilution in the supplied assay diluent proved non-linear, whereas dilution in donor serum or porcine plasma restored linearity up to a ratio of 1 : 6. CONCLUSION: We present recommendations that improve the reliability of these assays for clinical use and recommend serum as the preferred matrix with data more resistant to variations in collection.
    • A phase I study of Vandetanib in combination with vinorelbine/cisplatin or gemcitabine/cisplatin as first-line treatment for advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

      Blackhall, Fiona H; O'Brien, Mary; Schmid, Peter; Nicolson, Marianne; Taylor, Paul; Milenkova, Tsveta; Kennedy, Sarah J; Thatcher, Nick; Department of Medical Oncology, Christie Hospital NHS Trust, Manchester, United Kingdom. Fiona.Blackhall@christie.nhs.uk (2010-08)
      INTRODUCTION: Vandetanib is a once-daily oral agent that selectively inhibits vascular endothelial growth factor receptor, epidermal growth factor receptor, and RET (REarranged during Transfection) signaling. METHODS: This Phase I study investigated the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of vandetanib when administered with either gemcitabine plus cisplatin (GC) or vinorelbine plus cisplatin (VC) in patients with previously untreated locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. RESULTS: Seventeen patients received vandetanib 100 mg/d plus VC (n = 9) or GC (n = 8). Three dose-limiting toxicities were reported in each treatment group: vandetanib + VC (pulmonary artery thrombosis and asymptomatic QTc prolongation [n = 2]); vandetanib + GC (peripheral ischemia [due to arterial occlusion], pulmonary embolism, and limb venous thrombosis). The protocol definition of a tolerable dose was not met, and no patients were recruited to receive vandetanib 300 mg plus VC or GC. There was no apparent pharmacokinetic interaction between vandetanib and vinorelbine or gemcitabine, but there was an approximate 30% increase in the exposure to cisplatin, which may be due to accumulation of total platinum and/or an interaction with vandetanib. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, in patients with previously untreated advanced non-small cell lung cancer, vandetanib 100 mg/d in combination with either VC or GC was not tolerated.
    • Phase III randomised trial of doxorubicin-based chemotherapy compared with platinum-based chemotherapy in small-cell lung cancer.

      Baka, Sofia; Califano, Raffaele; Ferraldeschi, Roberta; Ashcroft, Linda; Thatcher, Nick; Taylor, Pat; Faivre-Finn, Corinne; Blackhall, Fiona H; Lorigan, Paul C; Department of Medical Oncology, Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Wilmslow Road, Manchester M20 4BX, UK. (2008-08-05)
      This randomised trial compared platinum-based to anthracycline-based chemotherapy in patients with small-cell lung cancer (limited or extensive stage) and
    • Phase III study of pemetrexed plus carboplatin compared with etoposide plus carboplatin in chemotherapy-naive patients with extensive-stage small-cell lung cancer.

      Socinski, Mark A; Smit, Egbert; Lorigan, Paul C; Konduri, Kartik; Reck, Martin; Szczesna, Aleksandra; Blakely, Johnetta; Serwatowski, Piotr; Karaseva, Nina A; Ciuleanu, Tudor; et al. (2009-10-01)
      PURPOSE: Following a phase II trial in which pemetrexed-platinum demonstrated similar activity to that of historical etoposide-platinum controls, a phase III study was conducted to compare pemetrexed-carboplatin with etoposide-carboplatin for the treatment of extensive-stage small-cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC). PATIENTS AND METHODS: Chemotherapy-naive patients with ES-SCLC and an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of zero to 2 were randomly assigned to receive pemetrexed-carboplatin (pemetrexed 500 mg/m(2) on day 1; carboplatin at area under the serum concentration-time curve [AUC] 5 on day 1) or etoposide-carboplatin (etoposide 100 mg/m(2) on days 1 through 3; carboplatin AUC 5 on day 1) every 3 weeks for up to six cycles. The primary objective of the study was noninferiority of pemetrexed-carboplatin overall survival with a 15% margin. RESULTS: Accrual was terminated with 908 of 1,820 patients enrolled after results of a planned interim analysis. In the final analysis, pemetrexed-carboplatin was inferior to etoposide-carboplatin for overall survival (median, 8.1 v 10.6 months; hazard ratio [HR],1.56; 95% CI, 1.27 to 1.92; log-rank P < .01) and progression-free survival (median, 3.8 v 5.4 months; HR, 1.85; 95% CI, 1.58 to 2.17; log-rank P < .01). Objective response rates were also significantly lower for pemetrexed-carboplatin (31% v 52%; P < .001). Pemetrexed-carboplatin had lower grade 3 to 4 neutropenia, febrile neutropenia, and leukopenia than etoposide-carboplatin; grade 3 to 4 thrombocytopenia was comparable between arms and anemia was higher in the pemetrexed-carboplatin arm. CONCLUSION: Pemetrexed-carboplatin is inferior for the treatment of ES-SCLC. Planned translational research and pharmacogenomic analyses of tumor and blood samples may help explain the study results and provide insight into new treatment strategies.
    • Randomized phase II study of cetuximab plus cisplatin/vinorelbine compared with cisplatin/vinorelbine alone as first-line therapy in EGFR-expressing advanced non-small-cell lung cancer.

      Rosell, Rafael; Robinet, G; Szczesna, A; Ramlau, R; Constenla, M; Mennecier, B C; Pfeifer, W; O'Byrne, Kenneth J; Welte, T; Kolb, R; et al. (2008-02)
      BACKGROUND: The Lung Cancer Cetuximab Study is an open-label, randomized phase II pilot study of cisplatin and vinorelbine combined with the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-targeted monoclonal antibody cetuximab versus cisplatin and vinorelbine alone, in patients with advanced EGFR-expressing, non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). End points of the study are activity, safety and pharmacokinetics. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Following randomization, for a maximum of eight cycles, patients received three-weekly cycles of cisplatin (80 mg/m(2), day 1) and vinorelbine (25 mg/m(2) on days 1 and 8) alone or following cetuximab treatment (initial dose 400 mg/m(2), followed by 250 mg/m(2) weekly thereafter). RESULTS: Eighty-six patients were randomly allocated to the study (43 per arm). Confirmed response rates were 28% in the cisplatin/vinorelbine arm (A) and 35% in the cetuximab plus cisplatin/vinorelbine arm (B). Median progression-free survival (PFS) was 4.6 months in arm A and 5.0 months in arm B, with PFS rates at 12 months of 0% and 15%, respectively. Median survival was 7.3 months in arm A and 8.3 months in arm B. The 24-month survival rates were 0% and 16%, respectively. The cetuximab combination was well tolerated. CONCLUSION: In the first-line treatment of advanced NSCLC, the combination of cetuximab plus cisplatin/vinorelbine demonstrated an acceptable safety profile and the potential to improve activity over cisplatin/vinorelbine alone.
    • Second-line treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

      Gridelli, Cesare; Ardizzoni, Andrea; Ciardiello, Fortunato; Hanna, Nasser; Heymach, John V; Perrone, Francesco; Rosell, Rafael; Shepherd, Frances A; Thatcher, Nick; Vansteenkiste, Johan; et al. (2008-04)
      After failure of first-line chemotherapy for advanced non-small cell lung cancer, many patients remain candidates to receive further antitumor treatment. To guide clinical management of these patients and to suggest priorities for clinical research, an International Panel of Experts met in Naples (Italy) in April 2007. Results and evidence-based conclusions are presented in this article. Single-agent chemotherapy with docetaxel or pemetrexed is the recommended option for unselected patients with performance status 0 to 2 who are candidates for second-line chemotherapy for advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Docetaxel has demonstrated superiority compared with best supportive care. Pemetrexed has been shown to be noninferior to docetaxel, with a more favorable toxicity profile. Erlotinib is effective in pretreated patients, and can be given second-line in patients not suitable or intolerant to chemotherapy, and in all patients as third-line treatment after failure of second-line chemotherapy. Gefitinib failed to show superiority to placebo as second- or third-line treatment, but it has been shown to be noninferior to docetaxel. In selected patients such as lifetime nonsmokers or those of East-Asian ethnicity, erlotinib, or gefitinib (where licensed) may be considered as second-line treatment even if they are fit for chemotherapy. Best supportive care in addition to active treatment remains important for all patients, but may be the exclusive option for patients unsuitable for more aggressive therapy. Further research is mandatory, to find better treatments, and to identify clinical and molecular predictive markers of efficacy, both for chemotherapy and for novel biologic agents.
    • Systemic treatment for advanced (stage IIIb/IV) non-small cell lung cancer: more treatment options; more things to consider. Conclusion.

      Bunn, Paul A; Thatcher, Nick; University of Colorado Cancer Center, Aurora, Colorado, USA. (2008)
      Chemotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) can prolong survival and improve quality of life, but the majority of advanced stage patients succumb to disease within 2 years, meaning that there is room for improvement. The standard chemotherapy for NSCLC involves one of a number of chemotherapy doublets that have been shown to improve survival when compared with single agents or best supportive care. These doublets are generally comparable in terms of efficacy, differing primarily in their toxicity profiles. However, encouraging new options may be approaching, including therapies targeted to specific patient subpopulations, and the use of combinations of current and new drugs to produce synergistic effects. Targeted therapies include the anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) erlotinib and gefitinib, EGFR monoclonal antibody cetuximab, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors such as sorafenib, a small molecule TKI, and bevacizumab, a recombinant monoclonal VEGF antibody. Most attempts to combine EGFR-targeted therapies with standard chemotherapy in NSCLC have produced poor results, possibly as a result of antagonism between EGFR TKIs and chemotherapy. Positive results with bevacizumab suggest that VEGF-rather than EGFR-targeted therapies may produce better results when combined with chemotherapy. Other new drugs being tested include enzastaurin, an oral serine threonine kinase inhibitor; vinflunine, a vinca alkaloid; dihydrofolate reductase inhibitors; and thymidylate synthase inhibitors. Combinations of therapies, especially those acting via different mechanisms, hold promise for improvements in survival, but careful testing is required to determine optimum combinations of available drugs and where new drugs fit into the armamentarium.
    • Systemic treatment for advanced (stage IIIb/IV) non-small cell lung cancer: more treatment options; more things to consider. Introduction.

      Bunn, Paul A; Thatcher, Nick; University of Colorado Cancer Center, Aurora, Colorado, USA. (2008)
      Lung cancer is the most common cancer and a highly lethal disease, with improvements in survival rates being dependent on advances in early detection and improved systemic therapies applied to surgery and/or irradiation in early-stage disease. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) represents around 80% of all lung cancers, and unfortunately at diagnosis most patients have advanced unresectable disease with a very poor prognosis. Indeed, 30%-40% of patients treated with first-line therapy will subsequently be candidates for second-line treatment. Current U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved second-line treatments are docetaxel (a taxane), pemetrexed (a folate antimetabolite), and erlotinib (an epidermal growth factor receptor [EGFR] tyrosine kinase inhibitor [TKI]). Gefitinib, another EGFR TKI, currently has only limited use in North America and is not available in Europe. These and other new molecular-target-specific agents may have the potential to maximize therapeutic benefit while minimizing toxicity to normal cells. Overexpression of EGFR is reported to occur in 40%-80% of NSCLC cases, and EGFR mutations are associated with a significantly higher response rate and longer duration of response following treatment with EGFR TKIs. Another option is antiangiogenesis: the growth and persistence of solid tumors and their metastases are angiogenesis dependent, and so antiangiogenic therapies have been developed, such as the use of TKIs that block the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor. In fact, many commonly used chemotherapeutic drugs have antiangiogenic activity. Ongoing studies are focusing on patient selection and targeted therapies, and there are many new agents undergoing clinical trials.