A new clinical trial, presented at medical meeting on Saturday, has strongly shown that medicine maker Pfizer Inc’s lung cancer drug Xalkori can do wonders in treating people with an even rarer form of the disease.
The drug Xalkori can help in treating patients of lung cancer with a specific gene mutation.
Lead study investigator Dr. Alice Shaw, from the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center in Boston, said, “This is the first definitive study to establish crizotinib’s activity in a large group of patients with ROS1-positive lung cancer and confirms that ROS1 is a bona fide therapeutic target in those patients.”
The researchers conducted clinical study on 50 patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) having a rearrangement of the ROS1 gene and they found that the Pfizer’s medication led to the shrinkage of the tumors significantly in impressive 36 patients, i.e. 72 percent of the total participants. Moreover, Xalkori treatment halted growth of unwanted tumor in an additional nine patients.
Xalkori, which is chemically known as crizotinib, was approved by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for treatment of patients with ALK gene mutation and a companion diagnostic test to detect those with the gene mutation accounting for about 4 percent of (NSCLC).
According to the researchers, if the oral drug is taken twice daily then the average duration of its response was 17 months.
“The remissions induced by crizotinib in ROS1-positive patients are quite prolonged, and the treatment resistance on average appears to emerge much later than what we have witnessed with other targeted therapies for melanoma (skin cancer) and lung cancer,” Shaw said.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, was presented by the researchers at the meeting of European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) in Madrid.