Medical team identifies combined treatment for lung cancer

Taipei-A Taiwanese medical team gave an interview to CNA Tuesday to publicize its recent identification of a combined treatment for patients with advanced-stage lung adenocarcinoma caused by the genetic mutation of a specific protein, the leading cause of death in Taiwan for the past seven years.

According to the team, half of lung cancers are triggered by adenocarcinoma problems and half of those involve the mutant epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR).

Furthermore, statistics show that 70 percent of those patients will see the cancer spread to their brain, which significantly affects their life quality, the team said.

While standard treatment for lung adenocarcinoma patients is targeted therapy using tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) drugs, the body often develops resistance in about eight months, making follow up treatment more difficult, said Lee Kang-yun (???), head of the Office of Human Research at Taipei Medical University.

Lee, who is also a thoracic doctor, said they tried a treatment combining TKI and an anti-angiogenic therapy using the drug bevacizumab in a clinical trial on which 55 patients with stage 4 EGFR-mutated lung adenocarcinoma were enrolled, with positive results.

Patients that received the combined treatment were able to use TKI for 23 months without developing drug resistance, Lee said.

Moreover, the combined treatment has been proved to protect against brain metastasis, Lee said, citing trial results that 83 percent of patients were able to keep their tumor under control, compared with an intracranial control rate of only 43 percent for patients receiving traditional treatment.

As to TKI drug resistance, the combined treatment can extend drug function from the original 13 months to 50 months, Lee said.

Lee explained that the mechanism for the new treatment involves using anti-angiogenic therapy to manage the "micro-environment" around the tumor, curbing the proliferation of veins that provide it with nutrients.

The findings from Lee's team were originally published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology in November 2018.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel