Inhaled chemotherapy may help fight lung cancer

25 May 2010

An inhaled chemotherapy cocktail may help increase lung cancer patient survival beyond the current rate while limiting harmful side effects.

Tamara Minko and colleagues at Rutgers University, Piscataway, USA, designed an inhalable chemotherapy treatment that included anticancer drugs and compounds designed to inhibit genes associated with chemotherapy resistance, and administered the treatment to mice with multiple human lung cancer tumors.

The authors report that the inhalation treatment killed cancerous cells and decreased tumor size more successfully than the drugs alone or in treatments administered through IVs. Tests revealed that, compared to injections, the inhalation method enhanced the drugs exposure to the mouse's lungs and limited toxic accumulation in other healthy organs.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide, and disease mortality rates have varied little from an approximately 20 percent survival rate over the last half century. The treatment could help patients overcome some of the obstacles to chemotherapy, such as cancer cell resistance, low drug accumulation in the lungs, and adverse side effects, according to the authors.



Proceedings of the National Academy of Science: Article 10-04604: "Inhibition of lung tumor growth by complex pulmonary delivery of drugs with oligonucleotides as suppressors of cellular resistance," by Olga Garbuzenko, Maha Saad, Vitaly Pozharov, Kenneth Reuhl, Gediminas Mainelis, and Tamara Minko