Improving chemotherapy for lung cancer patients
Advanced non-small cell lung cancer is very challenging to treat, so recent study results on vorinostat hold great promise for patients, says Suresh Ramalingam (hematology/ oncology).
Ramalingam and his team added vorinostat to a standard chemotherapy regimen of carboplatin and paclitaxel in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer and found that the addition of the anti-tumor agent increased effectiveness of the treatment. The combination increased response rates from 12.5% to 34% and demonstrated favorable trends for progression-free survival and overall survival.
"These results also open the door to evaluate other drugs that belong to this class of compounds for treatment of non-small cell lung cancer," says Ramalingam.
Vorinostat is part of an emerging class of anti-tumor agents that interfere with enzymes known as histone deacetylases. Inhibiting these enzymes increases the level of acetylation, a reversible chemical modification, on proteins in the cell. Vorinostat may be affecting histones, abundant spool-like proteins around which the cell's DNA is wound, and other proteins important for cell division such as tubulin. Scientists believe these effects could enhance the DNA-damaging and cell division-inhibiting effects of carboplatin and paclitaxel, respectively.