Lung Cancer


Female lung cancer cases top 20,000 in the UK
Published: 01 July 2015

Lung cancer cases in women have reached 20,000 a year in the UK for the first time since records began. Women diagnosed with lung cancer continue to rise. Lung cancer rate in the female population has risen by 22% or 65 cases per 100,000 people. About 24,000 men are diagnosed with lung cancer each year, which makes it the second most common cancer for both sexes.

Lung cancer claims the lives of 35,000 people each year. Just 10% of people live for five years after diagnosis compared with breast and prostate cancer which has more than 80% survival rate. The survival rate remains poor primarily because lung cancer tends to be diagnosed at a late stage when the cancer has already spread.

Cancer Research UK is doing efforts to tackle lung cancer as key priorities in its research strategy. A new biopsy technique uses magnets to capture rogue cancer cells in the patient’s blood – which could provide vital information on the biology of the disease and help improve treatment. Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer in the UK so they are urging the government and health services to help smoker quit by providing more stop smoking services to help people give up smoking addiction.

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Australia adds new breast and lung cancer drugs to PBS funding
Published: 01 July 2015

Minister for Health Sussan Ley has announced that breast and lung Cancer patients will have affordable access to life-changing medicines that normally cost up to $80,000 for treatment starting July 1, 2015. Patients will now just pay $6.10 (concessional) or $37.70 (general) for breakthrough lung cancer medicine Crizotinib and breast cancer treatments Perjeta, Herceptin and Kadcyla as a result of their official listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. This is another example of the Abbott Government delivering its promise to list new medicines as quickly as possible.

One in every six dollars out of the $10 billion taxpayers invest in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme every year is now spent on cancer treatments. This investment will deliver affordable access to patients who would otherwise pay up to $80,000 for these life-saving treatments to beat breast and lung cancers. The Abbott Government has now more-than-doubled the number of new and amended drug listings on the PBS to over 660 – worth almost $3 billion in total since September 2013.

Perjeta, Herceptin and Kadcyla were used to treat HER2-positive metastic breast cancer and would benefit 590 patients per year. Kadcyla provides an additional line of therapy where the disease has progressed despite previous treatment, while the combination of Perjeta and Herceptin would provide a more effective treatment option for this cancer than Herceptin alone. Crizotinib (Xalkori®) was used to treat anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive non-small cell lung cancer and would benefit approximately 154 patients with the rare life-threatening disease. Crizotinib will be listed through a Managed Entry Scheme that will speed up access for patients with the highest need for treatment.

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Stereotactic Body Radiation Improves Lung Cancer Survival
Published: 16 July 2014

According to the results of a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology in Boston, Massachusetts, stereotactic body radiation for early-stage, inoperable non-small cell lung cancer yields high overall survival rates and low toxicity compared to conventional radiotherapy. It involves the very precise delivery of a large dose of radiation to a tumor while sparing normal tissue. It is delivered from multiple angles and planes, which allows the delivery of the larger dose. Sessions can be delivered over 2 to 2.5 weeks instead of the typical 8-9 week regimens associated with conventional techniques.

Lung cancer is a major cause of death worldwide, with over one million deaths per year. Non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer. Early-stage NSCLC is most often treated with surgical resection with or without the addition of radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy. Treatment of early-stage NSCLC patients who are unable to undergo surgery may include radiation therapy or observation.

Researchers from Japan evaluated the safety and efficacy of stereotactic body radiation therapy. After three years, the overall survival rate was 59.9 percent, compared to historical rates of 31-39 percent with conventional radiation. The researchers concluded that stereotactic body radiation therapy for inoperable stage I NSCLC is highly effective with mild toxicity. They suggest that it should become the new standard treatment, replacing conventional radiation therapy in this population.

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Phase I Study of Novel Third-Generation EGFR Inhibitor Holds Promise Against Resistance Mutation in Patients With Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer
Published: 10 June 2014

Promising results of a phase 1 study presented at the 2014 ASCO Annual Meeting suggest that AZD9291 a novel mutant-selective epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitor, may become a treatment option for patients with advanced EGFR mutant, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that has progressed on standard EGFR inhibitors.

Currently, Three different tyrosine kinase inhibitor (Erlotinib [Tarceva], gefitinib [Iressa], and afatinib [Gilotrif]) are approved for treatment of patients with EGFR-mutant NSCLC . Patients will respond to these drugs, but most will acquire resistance to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors within 10 to 14 months. The combination of two EGFR inhibitors—afatinib and cetuximab (Erbitux)—is somewhat effective in patients with the T790M mutation, but it is very toxic.

Pasi A. Jänne, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston explained that AZD9291 appears able to overcome the T790M mutation, and it is a “kinder, gentler” drug than the approved tyrosine kinase inhibitors. AZD9291 has been granted breakthrough status by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for metastatic T790M-positive NSCLC that has progressed on treatment with an EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor.

“This is a promising effective treatment with no dose-limiting toxicities identified and no maximal tolerated dose identified in phase I. This drug warrants further study, which is now ongoing,” Dr. Jänne said. The overall response rate in all evaluable patients was 51%. The overall response rate was higher in cancers with the T790M mutation: 64% in mutation-positive patients, and 23% in mutation-negative patients. The overall disease control rate (response plus stable disease) was 96% in mutation-positive patients (85 of 89). The longest duration of response was 8 months, and responses were seen across all dose levels.

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Resistance to Lung Cancer Targeted Therapy can be Reversed, Study Suggests
Published: 9 June 2014

Scientists at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. They discovered why that intrinsic resistance to lung cancer occurs—and they pinpoint a drug they say could potentially reverse it. They found that over-expression of the growth protein Cripto-1 makes lung cancer cells resistant to the drug erlotinib (Tarceva®). Experiments in cell lines and in animals demonstrated that blocking Cripto-1 signaling transduction restored sensitivity to the drug, one of a number of EGFR inhibitors used in non-small cell lung carcinoma and other cancers.

Cripto-1 activates the oncogenic tyrosine-protein kinase Src so they used a Src inhibitor. Although the specific drug they used is no longer available, at least one similar Src inhibitor has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia.

Giuseppe Giaccone, MD, PhD, associate director for clinical research at Georgetown Lombardi said, “This is a welcome finding because Cripto-1 belongs to a family of proteins that can be targeted by drugs that have already been developed,”

“Most patients using erlotinib exhibit either intrinsic or acquired resistance, so we frankly don’t cure anyone with the drug, although we can extend lifespan,” Giaccone says. “So if we can understand what is limiting the activity of the drug up front, I believe treatment of patients can be vastly improved.”

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This Breath Test Could Help Sniff Out Lung Cancer
Published: 9 June 2014

A new study shows that a test of patients’ breath could reveal whether they have lung cancer and how advanced it is, or whether they suffer from chronic, noncancerous lung conditions. Cancer cells produce specific compounds that enter the blood stream and cause changes in a patient’s blood chemistry and breath. The researchers developed a device that can “smell” lung cancer when patients blow into a balloon

NaNose, the new device, made of gold nanoparticles, is an extremely sensitive odor detector that can sniff out the compounds present in the breath of people who have lung cancer, according to the study. The results showed that the device correctly distinguished lung cancer patients from COPD patients about 85 percent of the time. The test also distinguished between lung cancer patients who were at an early stage of the disease and those who had advanced lung cancer about 79 percent of the time.

Recent lung cancer screening guidelines by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommend yearly CT scans of the chest for people who are at high risk of developing lung cancer. Lung cancer deaths maybe reduced by 20% through this approach. However, yearly CT scan screening also has a high rate of false positives. About a quarter of healthy people who get screened get a result that suggests they have cancer, and only find out later, after more testing, that they don’t.

The clinical trial for the device is ongoing and more research is needed, but the device could be on the market in the coming years, the researchers said. Future generations of the device could potentially help doctors quickly detect patients’ lung cancer types and track their response to treatments. The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology in Chicago, which took place May 30-June 3. [Biomimicry: 7 Clever Technologies Inspired by Nature]

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Additional Resources:

Quit Australia Australian Government Quit Smoking Help Resource. Australia Quitline 13 78 48

Quit Victoria This site provides resources for health professionals and the general public on smoking related issues in Victoria. This includes downloadable resources, policy guidance, advertising campaigns, press releases and more.

Stop Smoking Hypnotherapy Mobile Smoke Busters is a Mobile Quit Smoking Hypnotherapy service that is available Sydney wide.

Cancer Council Australia Provides evidence based cancer information on prevention, research, treatment and support.

Cancer Australia A national government agency working to reduce the impact of cancer on all Australians. Provides information on the disease, research and clinical trials.

Lung Cancer on Wikipedia Provides information about lung carcinomas, sign, symptoms, causes, diagnosis and prevention.