Lung Cancer clinical trials.
Research and drug discovery is moving very fast for some cancers. Some of the treatment under study may be better than the standard of care. That is why it is important to know all your options. Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate whether a new drug, treatment, or combination of treatments is safe, effective and possibly better than what is commonly being used. Almost all cancer drugs used today by patients were tested and made available through clinical trials.
For many people, particularly those whose cancer has not responded to standard treatments, a clinical trial may be the best available treatment option.
Approximately 14% of all new cancer cases are lung
Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells in one of more lung, and as these cells continue to grow they become malignant and can interfere with lung function. These uncontrollable cells are a result of DNA mutations in the cell, and as these mutated cells continue to divide, the mutation is passed to the new cells creating a tumor. These mutations are the result of normal aging processes or can be environmentally induced from smoking, asbestos exposure, radon exposure, breathing toxic dust (coal, welding, etc.) and pollution. Lung cancer is catorgorized into 3 main types- Non-Small Cell (NSCLC), Small Cell and Lung Carcinoid Tumor. Within NSCLC, tumors are further classified into the subtypes adenocarcinoma (most common subtype), squamous and large cell carcinoma. While NSCLC represents about 85% of lung cancers and Small Cell 10-15% and Lung Carcinoid the remainder, Small Cell cancers are more aggressive that NSCLC. Learn more from the American Cancer Society
Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in men and women, besides skin cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Approximately 14% of all new cancer cases are lung, and 1 out of 4 lung cancer patients will die from the disease, making finding a cure so imperative. The good news is that lung cancer rates have dropped over the last 50 years due to awareness and reduction in smoking.
The 3 Main Types of Lung Cancer
1. Non-small Cell Lung Cancer
- Most common type of lung cancer – approx. 85%
- Three subtypes including squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and large cell carcinoma
2. Small Cell Lung Cancer
- 10-15% of lung cancer
- Also called oat cell cancer
3. Lung Carcinoid Tumor
- Less than 5% of lung cancers
- Sometimes called lung neuroendocrine tumors
History of Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is one of the leading world health concerns but just 150 years ago it represented only 1% of all cancers seen at autopsy in the Institute of Pathology of the University of Dresden in Germany. In 1929, German physicist Fritz Linkint noted the connection between lung cancer and smoking while nearly simultaneously the 1930 edition of the authoritative Springer Handbook of Special Pathology noted that malignant lung tumors had begun to increase at the turn of the century and perhaps even more so after World War I with most lung tumors occurring in men, while also increasing in women. It also identified potential causes of this growing deadly disease including air pollution; the increase in automobile traffic; exposure to gas in World War I; the influenza pandemic of 1918; and working with benzene or gasoline, although this publication did not give particular importance to the smoking of cigarettes. In a later 1969 edition of the handbook updated causes of lung cancer also recognized that chemicals encountered in certain occupations could cause lung cancer. The link between lung cancer and smoking was officially recognized by the American Cancer Society later followed by a 1964 report of the Surgeon General recognizing smoking as the hazard it is. Warning labels began appearing on cigarette packs in the 1970s.
Screening tests began in the 1950s with annual chest x-ray films and sputum cytology. There have been big refinements in the staging classification of lung cancer and advances in stage identification using minimally invasive technology. Chemotherapy and radical radiotherapy was proven in 1970s to reduce tumor size in early stage lung cancer, leading to testing of other regimens. Chemotherapy offers modest survival improvement for patients with non–small cell lung cancer, the modern agents being better tolerated resulting in an improved quality of life. The 1986 discovery of the receptor on lung cancer cells called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which plays an important role in the growth and spread of non-small cell lung cancer, provided a new therapeutic target. It lead to the development of some of the first of targeted drugs gefitinib (Iressa) and erlotinib (Tarceva) which were later approved for specific indications in lung cancer in 2003 and 2004. Other recently FDA approved targeted therapies include crizotinib (Xalkori, 2011) which targets the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) pathway and about 4% of patients have this mutation and Crizotinib indicated for patients with the EML4-ALK fusion oncogene.
Current Treatment Research
- Personalized therapy. Researchers are looking at specific features of lung tumors that can predict whether a specific chemotherapy or targeted therapy may be effective. Learn more from Cancer.net
- Promising results in immunotherapy for NSCLC and the recent approval of nivolumab are leading to more research on using these types of drugs to help the immune system control NSCLC growth. Learn more from Cancer.net
- Better techniques for surgery and radiation therapy. Doctors are finding ways to improve the effectiveness of surgery and radiation therapy while reducing the side effects of these procedures.
- Improved screening. Advances in imaging techniques, such as low-dose, helical CT scanning, are currently being researched, and may help find better ways to diagnose lung cancer early. In the future, molecular features in the blood or sputum may suggest lung cancer is present before it can be seen on a CT scan. Genetic testing to learn which people have a higher risk of lung cancer is also being researched.
- Stopping tobacco use
- Palliative care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current lung cancer treatments in order to improve patients’ quality of life.
Personalized therapy is being used to look at specific features of lung tumors to predict effectiveness of specific chemotherapy or a targeted therapy
Why Cure Forward?
Whether you’re seeking information about lung cancer clinical trials or studies related to some other form of cancer, it can be hard to find trials that might be a good match.
We want to help. We have created a Clinical Trial Exchange, that collects data and information on clinical trials and studies from multiple sources making it easier to for you or your loved one to find all the treatment options. We work directly with clinical trial recruiters to help introduce their trials to potential candidates. We update our trial listings frequently to bring current, active studies directly to you.
This is the opposite of scouring the Internet.