This week I read a fascinating paper in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology by Dr. Nicolas Girard and colleagues at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Besançon in France. I thought this would make a timely post as this seems to be one of the common questions that comes up again and again on the discussion boards.
Member Neil Berch just wrote a nice summary of the four large randomized clinical trials being done with Zactima (vandetanib), an oral targeted therapy that can block both the VEGF (angiogenic) and EGFR pathways. In fact, the name vandetanib comes from blocking V and E.
At the 1st ESMO-IASLC Lung Cancer Conference in Geneva last week I saw a presentation that I thought would interest this general readership. The study, presented by Dr Grossi, from Italy, is a retrospective review of 61 patients with advanced NSCLC of all subtypes treated with either Tarceva (erlotinib) or Iressa (gefitinib) in the 1st or 2nd line setting.
One of the novel agents being studied in lung cancer is sutent (sunitinib), a multi-targeted oral anti-angiogenic drug that I’ve described in a prior post.
Member Sandra recently asked the question that several other people have asked in one form or another: how do we choose among the treatment options for second line therapy in NSCLC. I've covered in several posts and a huge number of responses in the Q&A Forum the leading options we generally consider for second line therapy for NSCLC.
In the Q&A forums recently, members Jianming and Neil introduced us to the novel agent XL647, in clinical trials now, but I figured it was worth me collecting more background and providing a more thorough background. XL647 is an oral small molecular that inhibits multiple tyrosine kinases, receptors on cells that trigger cascades of activity in the cells, thereby leading to tumor development and growth.
One of the successful examples of incorporating patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures into an important clinical trial was in the NCI-Canada study BR.21 (abstract here). This study assigned patients to either tarceva or placebo in a 2:1 randomization to the active drug:
Is There a Better Way to Combine EGFR Inhibitors and Chemo? The Concept of Pharmacodynamic Separation
Our tendency in oncology is that once we find a new active drug in cancer, we try to add it to our current standard treatment approach and see if we can do better than what our current standard achieves. More is better. And we knew that the epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors Iressa and Tarceva could lead to significant shrinkage of some lung cancers. So the lung cancer community was relatively optimistic about the clinical trials that compared chemo alone to the same chemo with Iressa or Tarceva.
NOTE: ALL FIGURES CAN BE SEEN BY DOUBLE-CLICKING ON THEM, EVEN THOUGH NOT ALL APPEAR AS THUMBNAIL VIEWS PROPERLY.
Several members have raised questions in the last several weeks around the question of whether antacids like garden variety Rolaids or Tums, a class of drugs called histamine H2 blockers like zantac and tagamet, and also proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) like prilosec (the "magic purple pill"), protonix, nexium, etc. that effectively shut down stomach acid may actually be problematic if taken in combination with Iressa or Tarceva (I'm going to focus primarily on Tarceva here, since that's the drug marketed in the US right now).