Clinical trial tests immunotherapy combination for relapsed small cell lung cancer

lung cancer cells

Lung cancer desmoplasia
Photo courtesy of NCI Visuals Online

Patients with small cell lung cancer that has not responded to prior treatment may be eligible to participate in a new clinical trial at the NIH Clinical Center.

Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is a fast-growing, aggressive malignancy. Initially, chemotherapy drugs effectively kill SCLC cells, but the responses are usually short-lived. Topotecan and temozolomide are two anticancer drugs used to treat SCLC. They work by damaging the DNA inside cancer cells, which blocks the cells’ ability to grow and multiply. The drugs can’t destroy all cancer cells because some of them can repair their damaged DNA and continue to multiply out of control. A study led by Anish Thomas, M.D., of the Developmental Therapeutics Branch is combining topotecan and temozolomide with an experimental drug called M7824 to treat relapsed SCLC. In previous studies, M7824 blocked cancer cells’ ability to evade attack by the body’s own immune system. Investigators hope that cancer cell death and pathways activated by topotecan and temozolomide can complement the activity of M7824 by helping the immune system kill more SCLC cells.  

NCI Protocol ID: NCI-18-C-0110
Protocol Title: Safety Run-In and Phase II Trial of M7824 and Topotecan or Temozolomide in Relapsed Small Cell Lung Cancers
Clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT03554473

The Center for Cancer Research is NCI’s internal cancer center, a publicly funded organization working to improve the lives of cancer patients by solving important, challenging and neglected problems in cancer research and patient care. Highly trained physician-scientists develop and carry out clinical trials to create the medicines of tomorrow treating patients at the world’s largest dedicated research hospital on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.   

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Summary Posted: 08/2018