Current and Emerging Therapies in NSCLC - Episode 13

Conclusion: Final Thoughts on Treatment Advances in NSCLC

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In the final segment of a 13 part series describing the optimal use of emerging and existing therapies for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), panelists emphasize several items of interest that were not previously mentioned during the discussion.

Looking toward the future, Everett E. Vokes, MD, anticipates data from the MetMAb trial investigating onartuzumab plus erlotinib for patients with NSCLC. The discovery of driver mutations has made a big impact on the treatment of NSCLC; however, these mutations occur in small subsets of patients. In general, the largest impact made in lung cancer treatment was from broad systemic approaches. As such, Vokes expresses excitement over research into immunotherapies in lung cancer, since this approach has the potential to treat a broad population of patients.

In the area of targeted therapies, Anne S. Tsao, MD, expresses interest in novel targets and thereapies, such as ROS-1 with crizotinib and RET with vandetanib. Moreover, alterations PTEN, PI3K, and FGFR are showing promise as targets for novel treatments in patients with squamous histology.

The next hurdle for many of these advances is translating research into the community setting, believes Karen L. Reckamp, MD, MS. This process requires education programs that teach community oncologists about the optimal utilization of molecular tests. Moreover, this process is further labored by possible disagreements on the optimal tests and actionable mutations.

Researchers are now faced with the challenge of matching discovered mutations with targeted therapies, states Roy S. Herbst, MD, PhD. This will be difficult, since the patient population for some of these mutations is very small. This enhances the need for adequate biopsies upfront, Herbst states. Moreover, there is a need to enhance reporting on these mutations in a fashion that is easily interpretable.