Dan J. Raz, MD
While systemic therapies have steadily moved through the pipeline for patients with non–small cell lung cancer that is more advanced or metastatic, the same cannot be said for those with early-stage disease—even though approximately 50% of this patient population will relapse following surgery and standard chemotherapy. However, the ongoing Adjuvant Lung Cancer Enrichment Marker Identification and Sequencing Trials (ALCHEMIST) are looking to change this.
on Advanced Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer.
OncLive: You spoke on surgical resection in an era of biomarker-driven therapy in lung cancer. What has changed here?
: A lot has changed in lung cancer in general, in terms of personalized medicine and using a patient's own tumor to come up with more specific treatments. I spoke about how it relates to patients with earlier-stage disease who are having surgery. Currently, there is not a whole lot of personalized medicine we do for patients who are undergoing surgery, but there are a lot of advances we are making. There are new clinical trials and some research ideas that I spoke about to try to introduce the topic.
You mentioned the ALCHEMIST trial in your lecture. Can you discuss that a little bit and the potential impact of this trial’s findings?
That is a very important trial for patients with lung cancer, but especially for those who have earlier-stage disease. What this trial does is it looks at the mutational profile of patients with lung cancer who have undergone surgical resection and earlier stage disease—so stage Ib to IIIa. It allows them to receive standard therapy, but then based on their mutational profile, they get additional therapies if they have certain changes.
There are 3 separate trials within this trial. One is for patients with sensitizing EGFR mutations who get erlotinib or observation. The other one is for patients who have an EML4-ALK translocation who receive crizotinib or placebo. They get randomized. The third trial is for patients who don’t have any of these mutational changes; they are eligible to get immunotherapy for 1 year. Recruiting is probably going to be a while until all the results are ready.
What other trials in this space are showing interest?
There are a few different biomarkers that have tried to evaluate which patents are sensitive to standard chemotherapy. Unfortunately, most of those have not really panned out, but there are a few clinical trials that are still evaluating certain DNA-repair enzyme changes that might be promising. We'll have to see what the results of those are.
One thing I spoke about is using a patient's tissue—to culture the tissue and treat with different agents and see how those respond. That is something that has been around for a long time, but there have been advances, techniques, and a renewed interest because of personalized medicine in those types of techniques.
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