Combination therapy may help treat lung cancer
- Lung cancer can be deadly and difficult to treat. Research into the development of new treatments is ongoing.
- Immunotherapy, or helping the body’s immune system fight cancer, is a sometimes effective treatment for people with lung cancer.
- The results of a recent study revealed that combining a type of immunotherapy with a KRAS inhibitor may be effective in treating lung cancer, but only in a specific subset of tumors.
Researchers have been working on developing treatment options to help increase survival rates in people with lung cancer.
Now, a recent study published in the journal Scientists progress reports that combining a specific KRAS inhibitor drug with immunotherapy may be an effective treatment for some people with lung cancer.
Lung cancer has a high mortality rate. Worldwide, lung cancer is the
Treatment options and plans will vary based on each person’s unique needs. An available option is
KRAS inhibitors are another treatment option available. Kirsten rat sarcoma (KRAS) is a specific gene and mutations in this gene can be found in people with lung cancer. Inhibiting this gene can help control cell growth and division and be part of effective cancer treatment.
Researchers in the new study sought to combine KRAS inhibitors with immunotherapy as a more effective treatment option for lung cancer.
Researchers examined the effectiveness of the KRAS inhibitor KRASG12C using cancer cell lines and mouse models. Miriam Molina-Aracas, Ph.D., study author and senior laboratory researcher at the Francis Crick Institute in London, noted the following highlights for Medical News Today:
“Treatment with KRASG12 in different preclinical mouse models of lung cancer not only causes the tumor to shrink, but also changes the immune cells surrounding the tumor. We have identified different mechanisms by which oncogenic KRAS in tumor cells can weaken the action of immune cells that should recognize and kill tumor cells. Inhibition of these mechanisms with KRASG12C inhibitor reverses these harmful effects and stimulates the immune response again.
Researchers in this study looked in more detail at the combination treatment of KRASG12C and blockade of immune checkpoints in mouse models of lung cancer.
This combination therapy, they reported, was only effective in a particular subset of lung cancer tumors.
The researchers said the results indicate that this combination therapy will only be effective in a certain subset of people with lung cancer.
Dr. Molina-Arcas explained the type of tumors where the combination treatment was most effective:
In our study, we show that although positive changes in the tumor immune microenvironment are observed in different models, only so-called “hot immune” tumors (tumors that have active immune cells and have some response to blockade of immune checkpoints) will benefit from the combination of KRASG12C inhibitors with immunotherapies.
The research for this study used mouse models, which provide only limited data.
Upal Basu Roy, Ph.D., MPH, vice president of research at the LUNGevity Foundation in Chicago, spoke about the study results and explained the following to DTM:
“When the researchers combined MTRX1257 [the KRAS inibitor] with approved drugs called immune checkpoint (ICB) blocking drugs, the effect of ICB was increased by MRTX1257. This suggests that immune modulation by MRTX1257 can increase the efficiency of ICBs. Interestingly, the authors noted that this positive effect was not seen in all KRASG12C lung models they tested and only seemed to work in tumors that were not intrinsically resistant to CBI, that is, tumors that did not show a response to ICB, to begin with. with.”
As research progresses, the focus should be on identifying people who may benefit from this combination therapy and also on developing various treatments where this combination is ineffective.
Molina-Acres explained to DTM:
“We continue to investigate how oncogenic KRAS can alter the tumor microenvironment, particularly in tumors that do not respond to the combination of KRASG12C inhibitors with immunotherapies, with the aim of developing better combination strategies for this group of patients. We are also researching ways to stimulate the immune system to eliminate cancer cells that have developed resistance to KRAS.G12C inhibitors.
Overall, experts say the study gives hope to people with lung cancer that more individualized and effective treatments may be developed soon.