Promising new research for those with non-small cell lung cancer.
Reporter Hallie Peilet spoke with the doctor who’s been working for decades to make these advancements in the fight against the disease.
Dr. Roy S. Herbst – Yale Cancer Center: “Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer death worldwide.”
Doctor Roy Herbst of Yale Cancer Center says lung cancer accounts for over 200,000 cases and deaths in the U.S each year.
“85% of that is non-small cell lung cancer,” he says.
Non small cell is the most common type of lung cancer. And Dr. Herbst says 15-20% of those with it, have an abnormality that qualifies them for a new treatment.
He recently completed an international study with 800 patients whose cancer was removable by surgery.
“Patients whose cancer could be removed. About 30% of the time lung cancers are early and can be removed. But even after that, even after surgery and chemotherapy in some cases there’s still a 50-70% chance those cancers will come back.”
So in this study Dr. Herbst and other researchers randomized patients to receive the new treatment.
“Newest generation epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor, vs a placebo, 400 patients in each group, we treated for three years and the question was, could this prevent disease recurrence.”
Doctor Herbst says he expected about a 30-40% difference, but saw an 83% decrease in recurrence of cancer in the group that got the study drug, versus the placebo.
“To see this magnitude benefit really speaks to the fact that we’ve brought the best targeted drugs, and brought them to the earlier stage setting.”
He says this groundbreaking development will change the entire approach to treating early stage non small cell lung cancer.
“I’m thrilled I’ve been working on this for 25 years, now we know who to treat, we have drugs that are better tolerated have fewer side effects, we’re helping patients with this disease live longer and live with better quality.”
If you or someone you know has recently been diagnosed with non small cell lung cancer you can visit lvng.com for more information.