Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) President & CEO, Laurie Fenton Ambrose praised the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) new trial, launched today, that will focus on the prevention of recurrence in two specific types of lung cancers when they are caught at early stage and surgically removed.
"This trial demonstrates the power of CT screening to open new research windows on critical problems, such as recurrence, that have eluded solutions to date," she said.
Few trials have been conducted on earlier stage lung cancer because so few lung cancer patients have been diagnosed at early stage. With wider availability of low dose CT, this will change.
This trial, the Adjuvant Lung Cancer Enrichment Marker Identification and Sequencing Trials, or ALCHEMIST, will test whether erlotinib and crizotinib, already approved as targeted therapies for EGFR positive and ALK positive types of late stage lung cancer, can effectively block recurrence when those cancers are found at an earlier stage.
Since the EGFR and ALK mutations are found in just 5% to 10% of lung cancers, NCI estimates that the tumors from 6,000 to 8,000 post-surgical patients would have to be tested for the mutations to yield about 600 patients eligible for the trial.
Patients whose resected tumors test positive will be given adjuvant chemotherapy and possibly radiation, and then treated with either erlotinib or crizotinib and followed for five years for recurrence.
"In this new era of CT screening for lung cancer, the number of lung cancers found at early stage will increase dramatically, making trials and new lifesaving breakthroughs like this feasible," Fenton Ambrose said.