A new trial promoted by the National Cancer Institute will evaluate whether targeting erlotinib and crizotinib drugs used against epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and anapestic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene changes in lung cancer tumors can effectively block cancer recurrence, improving survival chances compared to the standard care therapy that is currently used.
The trial, entitled Adjuvant Lung Cancer Enrichment Marker Identification and Sequencing Trials (ALCHEMIST), which appeared in Cancer, will involve three component trials and study participants with certain types of lung cancer diagnosed at an early stage, and who have received the current standard treatments, such as surgical removal of their tumor followed by post-operative chemotherapy and/or chemotherapy with radiation therapy.
The ALCHEMIST will test tissue from the participant’s surgically removed tumor for genetic changes in the EGFR and ALK genes. Participants whose tumors are found to harbor these genes will then be treated with adjuvant chemotherapy and possibly radiation, and then treated with either erlotinib or crizotinib and followed for five years for recurrence.
So far, the trial is gathering support among specialists. The Lung Cancer Alliance president and CEO, Laurie Fenton Ambrose, praised the NCI’s initiative, which “demonstrates the power of CT screening to open new research windows on critical problems, such as recurrence, that have eluded solutions to date,” she said in a press release.
To be eligible for ALCHEMIST, participants must have a type of lung cancer that is likely to harbor the EGFR and ALK gene alterarions, including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC, which includes squamous and non-squamous, depending on size, shape, and chemical make-up of the cells), small cell lung cancer, and lung carcinoid tumors.