Suresh S. Ramalingam, MD, chief of Thoracic Oncology and director of Medical Oncology at Emory University’s Winship Cancer Institute, explains that a number of new cytotoxic drugs are being developed in combination with targeted therapies, such as EGFR inhibitors.
The microtubule inhibitor eribulin mesylate (Halaven) is being examined in combination with the EGFR inhibitor erlotinib in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Eribulin has shown activity in NSCLC patients and is already approved in metastatic breast cancer leading to the rationale to explore it further in NSCLC.
Ramalingam believes the appeal of investigating newer cytotoxic agents, such as eribulin, is based on how readily these agents work in combination with existing cytotoxics and targeted therapies.
Locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) remains a challenging disease to treat, with a 5-year survival rate for patients with unresectable stage III disease of approximately 20%, even after definitive radiation therapy and concurrent chemotherapy.