According to a press release by Antisoma, the small-molecule vascular disrupting agent ASA404 improves anticancer responses and survival for patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Specific data including time to cancer progression and overall survival will be presented at the 2007 World Lung Cancer Conference in Seoul, Korea.

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) refers to the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for approximately 75–80% of all lung cancers in the U.S.

Standard therapy for NSCLC may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and/or targeted therapy. Researchers continue evaluating novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of NSCLC that may extend survival and improve or maintain quality of life for patients with this disease.

Cancer cells rely on blood vessels to supply oxygen and nutrients from the blood as well as remove waste products. Agents called angiogenesis inhibitors disrupt the new formation of blood vessels, halting or reducing new growth or spread of cancer cells. Some angiogenesis inhibitors are FDA approved, while others are in clinical trials for the treatment of various types of cancers. Another approach to treatment involves ASA404, referred to as a vascular disrupting agent (VDA). ASA404 differs from angiogenesis inhibitors in that it disrupts established blood vessels that feed cancer cells.

The current study included patients with advanced NSCLC who were treated with ASA404 plus the chemotherapy agents Paraplatin® (carboplatin) and Taxol® (paclitaxel). Overall, 50% of patients achieved an anticancer response. Data including time to cancer progression and one-year survival are expected toward the end of 2007.

A previous clinical trial evaluating ASA404 included patients with advanced NSCLC who were treated with either ASA404 plus Paraplatin/Taxol or Paraplatin/Taxol only. Results from this trial include the following:

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  • Median survival was 14 months for patients treated with ASA404 plus chemotherapy compared with 8.8 months for patients treated with chemotherapy only.
  • Treatment with ASA404 appeared to be well tolerated.

The researchers concluded that ASA404 appears promising in the treatment of advanced NSCLC. Enrollment for a Phase III clinical trial (last phase prior to FDA review) is expected in 2008. Results from clinical trials suggest that the addition of ASA404 to chemotherapy significantly improves survival for patients with advanced NSCLC.

Patients with advanced NSCLC may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of participating in a clinical trial further evaluating AS404 or other promising therapeutic options. Two sources of information regarding ongoing clinical trials include the National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov) and www.eCancerTrials.com.

Reference: Antisoma. Antisoma’s ASA404 1800 mg/m2 lung cancer trial will report positive survival data. Available at: . Accessed August 2007.

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