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Matching the tumours of advanced lung cancer patients to specific targeted drugs has helped those treated, according to researchers.
In a major trial funded by the US army, researchers tried to demonstrate their ability to choose the best drug for an individual patient.
They trialled four targeted therapies on patients who had specific biomarkers – mutations that the drugs were designed to counteract.
After eight weeks, 46% of the patients’ tumours had grown more slowly or even shrunk, compared with around 30% of standard lung cancer patients.
The best results were seen with Nexavar, known generically as sorafenib, sold by Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc and Bayer AG, according to researchers. The drug is designed to target a mutation in a gene called KRAS that is seen in lung and other cancers.
Dr Edwin Kim of cancer centre MD Anderson said: “Sorafenib performed very well regardless of marker status.”
Some 56% of the patients with no mutations in KRAS were helped by Nexavar and 61% of those with the mutation were helped, compared with 32% for the other three drugs.
The study included 255 patients with advanced lung cancer who had previously been treated with chemotherapy.
Copyright Press Association 2010
MD Anderson Cancer Center