Vaccine Increases Lung Cancer Survival Rates
New possible advances in treatment of lung cancer were presented at the AACR Annual Meeting 2012, held March 31 – April 4. Researchers believe that a therapeutic vaccine, belagenpumatucel-L, can increase long-term survival in patients with lung cancer. Lyudmila Bazhenova, MD, associate clinical professor at the University of California-San Diego Moores Cancer Center in La Jolla, California, said that this therapeutic approach proved to be unusually useful in patients with lung cancer stage IIIB / IV.
Belagenpumatucel-L is a vaccine derived from the four lung cancer cell lines. Phase 2 clinical study has a sample of 75 patients, of whom 46 patients with stage IV cancer. The results of the study showed that patients had a mean survival of 14.5 months and survival at 5 years was 20%. Surprisingly, patients in advanced stage, ie IIIB or IV disease but stable, nonprogressive, after chemotherapy had a median survival duration of 44 months and survival at 5 years was 50%.
Although results are promising, they have confirmed the phase 3 study, which was already underway in 8 countries. NSCLC, non-small-cell lung carcinoma is a cancer of the lung epithelium relatively resistant to chemotherapy. Histologically, the most common variants are squamous non small cell, large cell cancer and adenocarcinoma. It is important to notice that small cell cancer is more aggressive than non small cell, but prognosis depends on many factors.
Currently lung cancer treatment consists of surgery, chemotherapy and or radiotherapy. There are newer methods such as photodynamic therapy, electrocautery, cryosurgery, laser surgery, targeted therapy or internal radiation. As already mentioned, treatment depends on disease stage, type of cancer, tumor extension and the health of the patient. The disease can be treated successfully if diagnosed early, but in later stages such as stage 3 or 4, treatment options are limited.As such if you think that you have been exposed to a toxic substance seek the help of qualified and experienced professionals who will guide you through your ordeal.
Usually, symptoms of cancer are nonspecific, often being required differential diagnosis with other respiratory diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , tuberculosis, pneumonia, lung abscess and others. Most lung cancer patients have symptoms related to breathing, most of them blame shortness of breath, sometimes coughing or hoarseness resistant to treatment. Other symptoms that may occur are hemoptysis (bloody sputum) and chest pain. Also, weight loss, anorexia, fatigue, fever are possible manifestations of cancer.
Regarding the treatment of non small cell cancer, the current protocol consists of surgical resection followed by chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancers IA, B, II A, B. In stage IIIA oncologists recommend resection followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and in stages IIIB and IV chemotherapy and radiation or palliative resection. It should be noted that palliative therapy aims to relieve symptoms and not cure.