A new study gives hope for more effective lung cancer treatment. Scientists at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah found out different types of small cell lung cancer tumors which look and act differently from one another. They concluded that these tumors should not be treated uniformly and identified a drug combination that would work better on aggressive tumors
Small cell lung cancer are types of lung cancer which almost occurs exclusively for smokers. It accounts to about 10 to 15 percent of lung cancer patients in the US. It spreads more quickly than non-small cell lung cancer and responds more to chemotherapy.
According to Trudy G. Oliver, lead author of the study and assistant professor in oncological sciences at the University of Utah, there is currently no genetic testing for small cell lung cancer patients. After getting diagnosed for small cell lung cancer, the patients are all treated the same way. However, the study revealed that there are differences in the tumors which gives doctors more specific or personalized lung cancer treatment options.
In a study published in Cancer Cell, researchers studied the distinct properties of a small cell tumor subgroup called C-MYC. They described that the C-MYC tumors are more aggressive -- they grow and spread faster than the others. They also found out that a drug called an Aurora kinase inhibitor combined with chemotherapy works better in C-MYC tumors.
"The mice survive about twice as long. We have some mice that really had extended survival. If these observations could be translated to people, this could be a significant breakthrough for patients with small cell lung cancer," Oliver said in a press release from Huntsman Cancer Institute.
The researchers also highlighted the importance of genetic testing for small cell lung cancer patients. This would give better chances and more choices for doctors especially for those patients who previously did not respond to chemotherapy. He added that they need to find lung cancer treatments that would work with each kind of tumor.