American Association for Cancer Research

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Sorafenib Effective in Patients With Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, but Low Survival Rates Reported


January 9, 2012

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  • Survival rates were “unsatisfactory” in patients with NSCLC and a KRAS mutation.
  • “Great need” exists for new treatment combinations in this patient population.

SAN DIEGO — Sorafenib was effective in patients with non-small cell lung cancer and a KRAS mutation, but survival rates were reportedly “unsatisfactory,” according to data presented at the AACR-IASLC Joint Conference on Molecular Origins of Lung Cancer: Biology, Therapy and Personalized Medicine, held Jan. 8-11, 2012.

Patients with lung cancer and a KRAS mutation are believed to have a poor prognosis and may not benefit from treatment with epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors, according to study author Wouter W. Mellema, M.D., a doctoral candidate at VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam.

“There is a great need for targeted treatment options for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with a KRAS mutation,” he said.

In the phase 2, multicenter study conducted in the Netherlands, researchers assigned 57 patients with NSCLC and a KRAS mutation to 400 mg of sorafenib twice daily.

At six weeks, Mellema and colleagues reported a rate of no progression of 52.6 percent. Fifteen patients stopped treatment before six weeks — 10 of whom stopped due to clinical progression. Median progression-free survival was 2.3 months, and median overall survival was 5.3 months. The researchers reported that 14 patients are still alive.

“Sorafenib could be a useful drug in this patient population by inhibiting the growth-stimulating signal of the RAS protein,” Mellema said. “However, although sorafenib showed relevant activity, the outcome was unsatisfactory.”

Mellema and his team had conducted a pilot study in 10 patients, which showed “very promising results. Unfortunately, the results of the phase 2 study were less optimistic. We expected that progression-free survival and overall survival would be better [in the phase 2 study],” Mellema said.

He suggested that the KRAS mutation causes early progression by stimulating cell growth through an alternative pathway. “Future studies currently in preparation in our group should focus on simultaneous inhibition of these pathways,” he said.

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About the AACR:
The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, the AACR is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes 33,000 laboratory, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants, research fellowships and career development awards to young investigators, and it also funds cutting-edge research projects conducted by senior researchers. The AACR has numerous fruitful collaborations with organizations and foundations in the United States and abroad and functions as the Scientific Partner of Stand Up To Cancer, a charitable initiative that supports groundbreaking research aimed at getting new cancer treatments to patients in an accelerated time frame. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 17,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special Conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care, and Educational Workshops are held for the training of young cancer investigators. The AACR publishes seven major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Discovery; Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; and Cancer Prevention Research. In 2010, AACR journals received 20 percent of the total number of citations given to oncology journals. The AACR also publishes Cancer Today, a magazine for cancer patients, survivors and their caregivers, which provides practical knowledge and new hope for cancer survivors. A major goal of the AACR is to educate the general public and policymakers about the value of cancer research in improving public health, the vital importance of increases in sustained funding for cancer research and biomedical science, and the need for national policies that foster innovation and the acceleration of progress against the 200 diseases we call cancer.

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About the IASLC:
The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) is the only global organization dedicated to the study of lung cancer. Founded in 1974, the association’s membership includes more than 3,500 lung cancer specialists in 80 countries.

IASLC members promote the study of etiology, epidemiology, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and all other aspects of lung cancer and thoracic malignancies. IASLC disseminates information about lung cancer to scientists, members of the medical community and the public and uses all available means to eliminate lung cancer as a health threat for individual patients throughout the world. Membership is open to any physician, scientist, nurse or allied health professional interested in lung cancer, including patients, survivors, caregivers and advocates.

IASLC publishes the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, a valuable resource for medical specialists and scientists who focus on the detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.

To learn more about IASLC, visit http://iaslc.org

Media Contact:
Jeremy Moore
(215) 446-7109
Jeremy.Moore@aacr.org
In San Diego, Jan. 8-11:
(619) 615-6922