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According to results published in a press release by Poniard Pharmaceuticals, longer follow-up further indicates that the investigative chemotherapy agent picoplatin may improve survival compared to existing therapies in the treatment of patients diagnosed with small cell lung cancer who have previously received platinum-based therapies.

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) accounts for approximately 20% of lung cancers in the United States. It is considered to be an extremely aggressive form of lung cancer. “Small cell” refers to the type of cell within the lung where the cancer originated.

Standard treatment for SCLC typically includes chemotherapy consisting of a platinum agent (cisplatin or carboplatin). However, a large portion of patients will ultimately stop responding to platinum-based therapies, significantly limiting their treatment options. According to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network practice guidelines of 2007, the median survival for patients with SCLC who have stopped responding to prior therapy is 17 to 22 weeks with existing therapies. At present, there are no FDA-approved agents for the treatment of SCLC among patients who have received prior platinum therapy.

Picoplatin is an investigative chemotherapy agent with anticancer activity. It has been designed to overcome a patient’s resistance to platinum-based therapies. As well, picoplatin has fewer dangerous side effects than standard platinum chemotherapy agents.

Researchers recently updated results from a clinical trial evaluating picoplatin among patients with SCLC who had stopped responding to prior therapy with platinum chemotherapy agents within six months of initial therapy.

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  • The median one-year survival for patients treated with picoplatin was nearly 18%.
  • Picoplatin is now being evaluated in a Phase III clinical trial (phase prior to FDA review) for the treatment of SCLC.

The researchers concluded that picoplatin appears to provide clinical benefit for some patients with SCLC who have stopped responding to prior platinum-containing therapies. Patients with SCLC may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of participation in a clinical trial further evaluating picoplatin or other novel therapeutic options. Two sources of information regarding ongoing clinical trials include the National Cancer Institute ( and

Reference: Poniard Pharmaceuticals. Poniard Pharmaceuticals Announces Updated Results of Picoplatin Phase 2 Trial Demonstrating Survival Benefit in Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients. Available at: . Accessed September 2007.

Related News:Picoplatin May Improve Survival for Patients with Recurrent Small Cell Lung Cancer(11/07/2006)

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