New drug may become the new standard of care for patients with small cell lung cancer, SCLC

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Lurbinectedin monotherapy as a second-line therapy in patients with small cell lung cancer, SCLC, elicited a 68.6% response to treatment.

The 68.6% response in the phase II study comprised tumor shrinkage occurring in 37 of 105 patients with SCLC where additional 35 patients had stable disease. Furthermore, the median time to worsening of the disease under the treatment was 3.9 months and half of patients lived 9.3 months and longer, which is longer than what we see with other studies.

About the trial

The trial is a phase II, assessing treatment with lurbinectedin in patients with SCLC who had received 1 prior line of chemotherapy. All patients in the trial received the drug lurbinectedin. The drug is a very interesting, marine-based drug. lurbinectedin a synthetic analog of a known natural-based approved cancer drug called trabectedin, Yondelis. The trial was open for recruitment in the US and several European countries.

Lurbinectedin has been tested previously in some smaller phase I studies, mostly in combination with other chemotherapies.

The future for lurbinectedin

There is a randomized phase III study called ATLANTIS, in which patients who receive 1 prior line of chemotherapy for SCLC are randomized to receive either lurbinectedin in combination with certain chemotherapy compared with physician’s choice of standard chemotherapy. That study has completed enrollment of 600-patients. Results will be presented sometime in 2020.

About Small Cell Lung Cancer

  • This cancer constitutes approx. 15% of lung cancers and is considered to be particularly aggressive.
  • Its source is in cells from the central region of the lung and connection was found with smoking habits and history.
  • This cancer spreads rapidly.

Lung cancer develops in the lungs for many years. It is a leading cause in death by cancer in the US, Western countries.

The lungs are a double respiratory organ with a sponge-like texture and shaped like a cone in the chest. The lungs provide the body with oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the body in the process of breathing.

For most patients with stage 4 metastatic lung cancer, current treatments are insufficiently effective. This gives rise to the need for innovative strategies with greater efficacy in fighting the disease.  The National Cancer Institute, NCI, highlights the fact that for a certain group of lung cancer patients, the best treatment option is to join one of the many clinical trials existing worldwide aiming to increase their chances of therapeutic success.

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