For a Lung Cancer, Drug Treatment May Be Within Reach
The first large and comprehensive study of the genetics of a common lung cancer has found that more than half the tumors from that cancer have mutations that might be treated by new drugs that are already in the pipeline or that could be easily developed.
For the tens of thousands of Americans with that cancer — squamous cell lung cancer — the results are promising because they could foretell a new type of treatment in which drugs are tailored to match the genetic abnormality in each patient, researchers say.
“This is a disease where there are no targeted therapies,” said Dr. Matthew Meyerson of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, referring to modern drugs that attack genetic abnormalities. He is a lead author of a paper on the study, with more than 300 authors, which was published online in the journal Nature on Sunday.
“What we found will change the landscape for squamous cell carcinoma,” Dr. Meyerson said. “I think it gives hope to patients.”