|Lung cancer prevention strategies|
Screening programs like the one at Roswell Park Cancer Institute—designed to detect lung cancer in its earliest stages in people at high risk for the disease—are paving the way for prevention. Two Roswell Park clinical research studies are evaluating agents that may hold the key. One involves an active form of vitamin D, and another, to begin soon, will use low doses of the drug erlotinib (or Tarceva®). Both agents have shown effectiveness in treating lung cancer. The two studies, funded by the National Cancer Institute, are being directed by Mary Reid, PhD, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, and Alex Adjei, MD, PhD, Senior Vice President, Clinical Research, Chair of the Department of Medicine, and the Katherine Anne Gioia Chair in Cancer Medicine.
What’s the target population for lung cancer prevention?
Smokers make up about 25% of the U.S. adult population, and 40-50 million adult Americans are former smokers. Although quitting smoking is the best way to prevent lung cancer, the increased risk for former smokers never returns to the level of those who never smoked. Prevention studies at Roswell Park focus on current or former smokers with multiple risk factors, because they are at high risk for lung cancer and are most likely to benefit from early-detection screening and chemoprevention interventions.
Vitamin D and lung cancer prevention
Calcitriol, an active form of vitamin D, has been has been shown to control the actions of many genes in a broad range of tumors, including lung cancers. Early results show that calcitriol treatment produces a significant anti-tumor effect in non-small cell carcinoma (NSCLC) models. When taken every day for a week, the oral form of calcitriol has reached the target tissues with only minimal side effects.
Low-dose erlotinib for lung cancer prevention
Erlotinib is a drug that has been shown to modestly extend survival and reduce tumor size in patients with advanced lung cancer. Drs. Reid and Adjei will conduct a clinical research study evaluating the use of low doses of erlotinib to treat patients who have survived a previous lung, oral, laryngeal or esophageal cancer and who have a newly diagnosed early lung lesion detected through Roswell Park’s lung cancer screening program.
How can you participate in Roswell Park studies?
If you’re interested in participating in the studies underway at Roswell Park, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) and ask about the Lung Cancer Screening Program.