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Tuesday 01 December 1998

New oral chemotherapeutic agents for lung cancer.

By: Bengtson EM, Rigas JR.

Drugs 1999;58 Suppl 3:57-69

Anticancer treatment has recently shifted to include a broad range of antineoplastic therapies. Old agents are continuously being re-evaluated, and new mechanisms of treatment are rapidly being explored and developed. At the same time, the patient's perceived quality of life, adverse effects of therapy, time demands, and healthcare costs have become paramount in the treatment process. Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in the USA, and because many of the patients are older or debilitated, these issues become all the more important. The oral administration of anticancer therapy offers both quality-of-life and healthcare cost advantages. Oral forms of 3 new cytotoxic agents and 2 novel oral therapies are discussed. Vinorelbine, a vinca alkaloid, has well documented activity in non-small cell lung cancer. Myelosuppression is dose limiting; neurotoxicity is rare. Satraplatin (JM-216), an oral platinum derivative, shows activity in lung cancer with a favourable adverse effect profile, with no neurotoxicity or nephrotoxicity. The oral topoisomerase I inhibitor topotecan may be ideal for obtaining long term low plasma drug concentrations, which appears to maximise efficacy. LGD-1069 is a retinoid X receptor agonist that modulates cell proliferation, and BAY-129566, a matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor, appears to interrupt both the processes of angiogenesis and metastasis. LGD-1069 and BAY-129566 are nontraditional anticancer agents which may be used in conjunction with chemotherapy, other modalities, or in prevention. These 5 agents will be discussed with particular reference to recent developments in the treatment of lung cancer.

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