Lung cancer breakthrough: 70% of patients with specific mutation respond to new therapy

November 2, 2016

A clinical trial led by Dr. Glen Goss has helped make a new kind of personalized therapy available for some patients with non-small cell lung cancer. Over the last 15 years, many of these patients have benefited greatly from drugs that target cancer-associated mutations in a gene called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). But in most cases, further mutations eventually make the cancer resistant, leaving these patients with no standard effective therapy. The new trial, which involved 210 patients from seven countries, provides the most convincing evidence yet that a new drug called osimertinib can overcome this resistance. After treatment, 70 percent of patients experienced some tumour shrinkage (which lasted about a year) and three percent saw their tumours disappear. Although there was no placebo arm, historical data shows that this kind of advanced cancer typically progresses very rapidly. See The Lancet Oncology for details. Osimertinib was recently approved by Health Canada, based in part on this research. Ten patients from The Ottawa Hospital were enrolled in this study and benefited significantly from the therapy.

Authors: Glenwood Goss, Chun-Ming Tsai, Frances A Shepherd, Lyudmila Bazhenova, Jong Seok Lee, Gee-Chen Chang, Lucio Crino, Miyako Satouchi, Quincy Chu, Toyoaki Hida, Ji-Youn Han, Oscar Juan, Frank Dunphy, Makoto Nishio, Jin-Hyoung Kang, Margarita Majem, Helen Mann, Mireille Cantarini, Serban Ghiorghiu, Tetsuya Mitsudomi.

Funders: AstraZeneca. All research at The Ottawa Hospital is also supported by The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.

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Disease and research area tags: Cancer, Lung cancer, Biomarkers, Clinical trials