Targeted Agent Shows Dramatic Results in Lung Cancer Subset

An investigational drug, Crizotinib (PF-02341066), which targets a newly discovered gene mutation in lung tumors, showed dramatic results in a small phase 1 clinical trial of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer patients.

An investigational drug, Crizotinib (PF-02341066), which targets a newly discovered gene mutation in lung tumors, showed dramatic results in a small phase 1 clinical trial of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer patients. Of the 82 patients evaluated in the trial, almost 87 percent responded to the treatment, with responses lasting from 1 to 15 months. Patients are still being followed, but the probability of the disease not progressing by the six-month mark was 72 percent, and 77 percent are still on therapy.

Researchers were surprised to see such a positive response to the single-agent treatment, especially because most patients had progressed on several different regimens. Crizotinib was also well tolerated with about half the patients experiencing only mild side effects, including diarrhea and vomiting. ALK-positive lung tumors, which make up about 4 percent of lung cancers, tend to be adenocarcinomas and are found in never smokers and younger patients. Researchers are planning two follow-up trials for lung cancer patients who test positive for ALK and have been previously treated.