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Path to a Targeted Treatment for Small-Cell Lung Cancer?

By September 12, 2018No Comments

Small-cell lung cancer is aggressive and deadly, and progress is long overdue: Patients with SCLC have been treated with the same chemo regimen for 30 years. Could a precision medicine approach deliver patients a much-needed new option? In a new study, scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center reveal how losing a specific gene — which happens in about 15 percent of SCLC patients — accelerates tumor formation in mice. And, most exciting to the researchers, these tumors seem to be uniquely sensitive to a specific drug, which dramatically shrunk some tumors in mice with the mutation.

The drug, known as an HDAC inhibitor, is currently in clinical trials to treat patients with other cancers. The findings “suggest that HDAC inhibitors could have a role in treating small-cell lung cancer if directed to the right subsets of small-cell patients,” said Dr. David MacPherson, a lung cancer researcher and senior author on the study, published today in Cancer Discovery.