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Therapy targets resistant lung cancer

(Ivanhoe Newswire) - Combination therapy may produce longer remissions for patients with non-small cell lung (NSCLC) cancer that is unresponsive to treatment.

Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center found some patients with EGFR-mutant lung cancers -- which account for 12 percent of all NSCLC cases in the United States -- harbor cells with an overabundance of a protein called MET. Those cells can spark drug resistance, making treatment more difficult.

Study investigators found patients with such drug-resistant tumors could benefit from drugs that specifically target the problem cells, in combination with a drug called a tyrosine kinase inhibitor.

"Our findings provide a strong rationale for combination treatment strategies as initial therapies for some patients," lead study investigator Pasi Janne, M.D., Ph.D, of the Dana-Faber Cancer Institute, was quoted as saying. "This is especially the case in patients with evidence of pre-existing MET amplifications."

Investigators believe this discovery could allow doctors to tailor cancer treatments with greater precision to prevent tumor resistance.

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