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What Treatments Are Out There for Stage IV Small Cell?

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Published on October 20, 2015

Are there treatments for stage IV small cell cancer? Dr. Paul K. Paik discusses promising treatments on the rise for small cell cancer. He contends that epigenome inserts among other future treatments will prove effective in curing lung cancer. 

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Transcript | What Treatments Are Out There for Stage IV Small Cell?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That's how you’ll get care that's most appropriate for you.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Jamie:

So we have an online question from Mary, “Is there any new or promising treatments for those with stage IV small cell metastasized to the brain?” 

Dr. Paik:                

So the answer is yes.  There are two different approaches that I think will end up yielding some promising results.  One is immunotherapy.  So there are immunotherapy trials, particularly combination trials, which are seeing promising results. And given the pace at which these data are being presented and them and then organizations are incorporating them in terms of being able to prescribe this, I think we’re going to see something solidify some time hopefully in the next couple of years, I think, for small cell lung cancer. 

The other thing is that while I had mentioned that targeted therapy approaches are difficult, they have been difficult because there are—the low-hanging fruits that we’ve seen for lung adenocarcinoma—they just don’t exist for small cell lung cancer.

There are other ways of tackling, uh, small cell lung cancer that are targeted but that don’t necessarily rely on specific gene mutations. And—and these are treatments that are directed at what’s called the epigenome. So a regulation that happens outside of genetic mutations basically. And we think that this is very important in small cell lung cancer. And this is one of the things that we’re trying to tackle, basically, a combination approach of epigenetic therapy with one additional targeted therapy that dictates how cells survive and how they die. 

So there are these new combinations that are being studied right now, which I think we’ll begin to see the results of, again, within the next couple of years. And I have a lot of hope that actually that strategy is going to end up working out based on the data that have been presented.

So I think there are a couple of things to keep our eyes on.  I think the other thing is part of the discussion that we’ve had, which is that, you know, in addition to work that’s specifically being done in small cell lung cancer and lung cancer in general, you know, we have our colleagues, dealing with other kinds of cancers. And as Dr. DeCamp had mentioned, you know, we don’t see lung adenocarcinoma necessarily as lung adenocarcinoma. And now, we see it as EGFR-mutant lung cancer, ALK-rearranged lung cancer, HER2-mutant lung cancer.

And these defining it that way means that we are able to borrow from the expertise and experience of doctors and patients from other kinds of cancers, because these are similarities across them.  And I think we’re going to begin to see that more and more also.  And so the other hope that I have is that ongoing work in other cancers will help find some new treatments for small cell lung cancer also.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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