Personalized treatment for early lung cancer on the anvil

May 4th, 2009 - 3:29 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, May 4 (ANI): Personalised treatments following surgery are now being offered for patients with early stages of lung cancer, experts at an international conference said.

The experts reckoned that cancer vaccines and targeted therapies could help patients with lung cancer after surgery.

“Personalizing therapy is the key strategy for longer and better survival in lung cancer,” said Prof Paris Kosmidis, head of the second Medical Oncology Department at Hygeia Hospital in Athens, Greece.

“This is particularly important for early stage disease when following surgery, decisions about preventive therapy are based on specific prognostic and predictive factors.”

Prof Walter Weder, head of thoracic surgery at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, adds: “At the meeting, several research groups will present data from new and ongoing studies that show how existing treatments might be combined with targeted therapies and new cancer vaccines. We hope that these new treatments will provide further progress.”

In one poster presentation at the meeting, researchers described the results of a study that sought to identify which patients are likely to benefit from an immune-boosting vaccine designed to help the immune system to recognize MAGE-A3, a protein that is expressed on about 30 percent of lung cancers.

Studies have shown that the treatment can help patients avoid or delay cancer recurrence after surgery.

At the conference, researchers will describe a gene signature that might predict which patients will benefit from the treatment.

“Because the benefits of vaccination will be limited to a subgroup of patients, strategies to define these patients by means of biomarkers such as a genetic signature are of major clinical relevance, as only these patients might be candidates for vaccination in the future,” said Weder.

A larger, phase III, trial of the vaccine is now underway.

The findings were put forward at the first European Multidisciplinary Conference in Thoracic Oncology (EMCTO) in Lugano, Switzerland. (ANI)

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