Small Cell Lung Cancer – Effects of drug PD173074
In the UK over 100 people are diagnosed with lung cancer every day. Lung cancer is the most common cancer killer in the world.
A clinical trial using the drug PD173074 is to be carried out on those diagnosed with small cell lung cancer which makes up 20% of those diagnosed with lung cancer which had a particularly poor prognosis. Only around 3% of patients with small cell lung cancer survive for 5 years following diagnosis. The cancer spreads so quickly that surgery is not an option.
Small cell lung cancer is normally treated with chemotherapy and sometimes radiotherapy which reduces the size of the tumours. However they grow back rapidly and usually become resistant to chemotherapy. Tumours cells proliferate faster as they are fuelled by the growth hormone FGF-2. This growth hormone appears to speed the division of the cancer cells and triggers a surviving mechanism making them resistant to chemotherapy. The drug PD173074 appears to block the receptor that FGF-2 uses to attach to the tumour cells.
A trial carried out on mice shows that small cell lung cancer tumours were eliminated in 50% of mice and also blocked the cells ability to resist chemotherapy treatment there enhancing the effect of standard chemotherapy. It is now hoped to test the drug in clinical trials in patients who have an inoperable form of small cell lung cancer to see if it will be a successful treatment for lung cancer in humans.
Dr Joanne Owens of Cancer Research UK has said "early results are impressive".
The drug was initially tested on human tumours. The drug was shown to stop the cell division whilst neutralizing the cells defenses thereby allowing standard chemotherapy to be successful.
Once the trials have been concluded we can look to see if those suffering from small cell lung cancer have real prospects of fighting the disease and prolonging their life expectancy.