Patients with four types of cancer have new treatment options available after approval of three new drugs by the United States Food and Drug Administration in recent weeks.
The highly targeted drugs focus their firepower on specific types of cancer cells to treat groups of patients with non-small cell lung cancer, metastatic melanoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL). They offer new options for late-stage patients after frontline treatments have failed.
All three drugs were available at MD Anderson via clinical trials before FDA approval.
"This is an ideal example of personalized therapy," says Faye Johnson, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in Thoracic /Head and Neck Medical Oncology. "The drug is given only to a small group of patients with the target genetic variation in their tumors. It worked great and the toxicities are trivial, especially compared to chemotherapy."
While Johnson is talking about the drug crizotinib (known commercially as Xalkori®), approved for advanced-stage non-small cell lung cancer patients whose tumors have the ALK gene fusion, the same can be said for the other two drugs.