At the recent ESMO meeting, GSK's pazopanib, a new oral angiogenesis inhibitor, appeared to show
interesting activity in difficult to treat non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
The drug is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor that blocks the mechanism by which the protein ensures tumour growth and proliferation, a process known as angiogenesis:
Courtesy of Genentech (www.gene.com)
In a phase II trial, 30 out of 35 patients treated with pazopanib preoperatively for a minimum of two weeks saw their tumour size
shrink by up to 85%.
To date, no other results on the effect of
angiogenesis inhibitors in early stage operable lung cancer have been
published. Pazopanib indicates that it is a highly
active drug in this setting and further trials are underway in lung cancer.
The researchers felt that the study was novel due to 4 key features:
1) Use of
pre-surgery therapy for early stage lung cancer
2) Use of
3) Use of innovative imaging techniques to
measure exact tumour volume as a 3D object rather than just x and y
4) Collection of tissue and blood samples
before and after treatment.
Overall, it is hoped that the reduced toxicity of such targeted drugs increases the length of time they can be used and therefore the effectiveness, and ultimately survival, associated with the treatment. Further trials will be necessary before we know what the long-term potential of this agent is.