According to results published in a press release by Poniard Pharmaceuticals, the investigative chemotherapy agent picoplatin may improve survival compared to standard therapy in the treatment of patients 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, which limiting their treatment options.

Picoplatin is an investigative chemotherapy agent that produces anticancer effects and has been designed to overcome resistance to platinum-based therapies. To further test picoplatin, researchers recently conducted a clinical trial including 72 patients with SCLC who had been treated with platinum-based chemotherapy. Patients either stopped responding to prior platinum-based therapy or had experience a cancer recurrence within six months of treatment with platinum-based therapy.

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  • Interim analysis demonstrated a median overall survival of nearly 27 weeks.
  • Historical data for survival of patients with this stage of disease is 16–20 weeks.

The researchers concluded that it appears that picoplatin may improve outcomes for patients with recurrent SCLC who have received prior platinum-based therapy. A phase III clinical trial further evaluating picplatin is being planned for 2007.

Reference: Poniard Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Poniard Announces Positive Interim Survival Results from Ongoing Phase 2 Trial of Picoplatin for Small Cell Lung Cancer. Available at: . Accessed November 2006.

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