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Targeted Therapy for Patients With HER2-Positive Advanced Lung Cancer

By: Cordi Craig
Posted: Friday, August 18, 2017

Investigators from the Lung Cancer Mutation Consortium (LCMC) recently reported HER2 mutations were detected in 3% of patients with advanced-stage lung adenocarcinomas. Pillai et al, who published their findings in Cancer, concluded that therapies targeting this mutation may prove to be of greater benefit in this patient population compared with conventional chemotherapy and should be investigated further.

A total of 920 patients from the LCMC, 24 (3%) were identified to have the HER2 mutation. Of these patients, 71% were never-smokers. Patients were split into 2 groups: 12 received targeted therapy, and 12 received conventional chemotherapy.  Median survival was 2.1 years for those given HER2-targeted therapy, compared with 1.4 years for those given conventional treatment.

One of the study coauthors, Paul Bunn, Jr, MD, FASCO, of the University of Colorado, commented in a press release: “These treatments seem to have activity, but there just aren’t enough patients [with HER2-positive lung cancer] to know for sure whether HER2-directed therapy is better than giving chemotherapy, or if one HER2 treatment is better than another.” It is hoped that ongoing clinical trials will define how best to treat this patient population.