Two novel agents work synergistically to treat lung cancer in animal experiment

HOUSTON - Two different agents that have little individual effect on lung cancer when tested in low doses in the lab and in animals have a synergistic impact when combined together, say researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer. They say this new therapeutic recipe might show potential in disarming the nation's leading cancer killer.

The study, published in the October 20 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, tested an experimental targeted therapy, the farnesyltransferase inhibitor SCH66336, and an agent, the insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3), and found that even at a combined low dose, tumor size was reduced by half in mice implanted with human lung tumors.

"Together these agents work on multiple pathways important to the survival of a cancer cell, and we look forward to possibly translating our promising findings into a clinical trial," says Ho-Young Lee, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Thoracic/Head & Neck Medical Oncology Research and lead author of the study.

"Combined, these two agents block two different pathways and appear to have tremendous potential to make an impact in the treatment of lung cancer patients. We are in the process of developing a clinical protocol, which we hope to move forward to patients in the near future," says Waun Ki Hong, M.D., head of the Division of Cancer Medicine and chairman of thoracic/head and neck medical oncology. Scientists from U.S. Food and Drug Administration and from Emory University also participated.

The drugs, when used together, inhibit cancer cell survival pathways in cancer while inducing cell death. IGFBP-3 has demonstrated some effectiveness in laboratory studies involving several different kinds of cancer types, but has not yet been tested in patients. SCH66336 (also known as lonafarnib) already has been tested in an advanced clinical trial treating patients with lung cancer, but results wer

Contact: Laura Sussman
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

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