David R. Gandara, MD, University of California, Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, provides his opinion on some of the most exciting research currently taking place for patients with NSCLC.
David R. Gandara, MD, Director, Thoracic Oncology Program, University of California, Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, provides his opinion on some of the most exciting research currently taking place for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
One of the more exciting developments in the treatment of NSCLC is the realization that KRAS-mutated tumors respond to MEK inhibitors, Gandara believes. This activity seems consistent regardless of whether the MEK inhibitor is administered in combination with a targeted therapy or chemotherapy, according to early-stage research.
Additionally, Gandara notes his excitement over research into a new immunotherapy to treat NSCLC. In a recent study presented at the 2012 ASCO annual meeting, the programmed death-1 (PD-1) inhibitor BMS-936558 demonstrated immune activation for patients with heavily pretreated NSCLC. According to Gandara, BMS-936558 demonstrated remarkable results as assessed by RECIST criteria, including tumor shrinkage and the prolongation of survival.
Lastly, Gandara notes that a new molecular finding has demonstrated that patients with advanced NSCLC who harbor a chromosomal rearrangement of the ROS1 receptor tyrosine kinase gene are sensitive to treatment with crizotinib. Moreover, crizotinib seems to be as effective in patients with ROS1 rearrangements as it is in those with ALK translocations. Further trials needs to be conducted to validate ROS1 as a therapeutic target, but this may potentially be a new therapeutic option for patients with NSCLC.