Breast Cancer Drug Found to be Ineffective in Treating Squamous Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Martin J. Edelman, MD, Chair of the Department of Hematology/Oncology.
Martin Edelman, MD, FACP

PHILADELPHIA (June 2, 2017) - Martin J. Edelman, MD, FACP, chair of Hematology/Oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center, presented the results of a clinical study testing palbociclib, a drug used to treat breast cancer, in patients with squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago. Of the 32 patients evaluated, only two responded to the drug, showing it to be ineffective on its own for patients with squamous NSCLC.

“Though the results were negative and we found this drug does not work as a stand- alone agent even in this selected population, this type of research is still valuable,” Edelman said. “We will continue to search for alternatives, but quickly learning what doesn’t work allows us to seek out different treatment options for patients.”

The study was an arm of the Lung Master Protocol (Lung MAP), a nationwide collaboration seeking new therapies for the approximately 50,000 new cases of squamous NSCLC that occur in the U.S. each year.

“When we understand the mechanism that allows a drug to be effective in one type of cancer, intuitively we think it may work in another,” Edelman said. “It is important to remember that not every trial is going to come up positive. Negative trials are just as important because of what we can learn from them.”

The Lung MAP, also known as Southwest Oncology Group Protocol 1400, is an initiative of the National Clinical Trial Network, a National Cancer Institute-funded consortium that conducts clinical trials. Government partners in the Network include the Food and Drug Administration; participating philanthropic organizations include the Foundation for the NIH and Friends of Cancer Research; industry partners include Pfizer Oncology, the manufacturer of palbociclib. Lung MAP was designed to rapidly identify targeted therapies for patients with squamous NSCLC. Each arm of the study tests different drugs in patients whose tumors exhibit specific molecular abnormalities.

Fox Chase Cancer Center (Fox Chase), which includes the Institute for Cancer Research and the American Oncologic Hospital and is a part of Temple Health, is one of the leading comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase is also one of just 10 members of the Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence six consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach. It is the policy of Fox Chase Cancer Center that there shall be no exclusion from, or participation in, and no one denied the benefits of, the delivery of quality medical care on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, disability, age, ancestry, color, national origin, physical ability, level of education, or source of payment.

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