First Targeted Therapy For Lung Cancer With KRAS
- In a major breakthrough, the drug Sotorasib shrank tumors in 37% of lung cancer patient with the KRAS genetic mutation. These are people for whom chemotherapy and other drugs hadn’t worked. The so-called targeted therapy prevented more cancer from progressing for a median of 6.8 months.
- About 10-12% of people diagnosed with lung cancer have the KRAS mutation
- This is the first targeted therapy for lung cancer harboring a KRAS mutation and the success of this drug in larger studies would be a major step forward for patients and the field of oncology.
Dr. Roy Herbst, Chief of Medical Oncology at Yale tells SurvivorNet ” We are excited we have a drug that could work in these patients. The fact that tumors respond to this therapy is a big deal.”Read More
New Therapy Targeting KRAS
Now we finally have targeted therapy options for these patients.
In patients who have advanced stage or metastatic NSCLC most patients will have their tumor tested for genetic abnormalities or biomarkers to help their doctors select what treatments are best. Some common biomarkers such as EGFR and PDL1 have medications that doctors can use to target the lung cancer and improve a patient’s survival and quality of life. Despite this, one biomarker that has never had a treatment is KRAS. KRAS is a mutation that occurs in some patients with NSCLC and is generally associated with poor outcomes. One reason this mutation is considered a bad risk factor is that unlike other mutations such as EGFR there has never been a drug approved to treat this type of lung cancer.
Fortunately, for patients, this may be changing soon. A new drug called Sotorasib that specifically targets the KRAS mutation recently showed positive results in the early phase CODEBREAK 100 study. Based on the results from the early phase study Sotorasib was granted Break Through Therapy Designation and the drug has been accepted into the Real-Time Oncology Pilot Review Program by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). When discussing the trial, Dr. Velcheti, Director of the Thoracic Medical Oncology Program at NYU Langone says “The CODEBREAK 100 trial represents the clinical validation of significant research efforts spanning decades. Now we finally have targeted therapy options for these patients.”
What does this mean for patients?
Overall I am impressed with this drug. It is hard for the public to understand just how far drug development has come.
So what does this mean for patients? This means that the new drug targeting KRAS may soon be available for patients whose tumors harbor this mutation and who have not responded to other treatments.
Lung specialists from across the country were eager to speak with SurvivorNet regarding the exciting news. Dr. Brendon Stiles, Associate Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical Center tells SurvivorNet “Overall I am impressed with this drug. It is hard for the public to understand just how far drug development has come.” The KRAS mutation has long been considered undruggable, meaning if you have this mutation, there was not a medicine designed specifically to treat this type of cancer. The chance of responding to the new therapy is around 40%. Although researchers would prefer to see this percent be higher, the results of the study give hope that future therapies may have even better outcomes. Dr. Herbst is also optimistic about the future of drugs targeting KRAS and thinks the results of this study “opens up a whole new world for lung cancer.” If you or a loved one have NSCLC with a KRAS mutation ask your doctor about what treatment options are best for you.