Dr. Camidge Defines MET Amplification as Driver for NSCLCJul 22, 2021
A study led by D. Ross Camidge, MD, PhD has helped to define MET amplification as a rare but potentially actionable driver for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Many of the major developments in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer have come from defining molecularly specific subsets of the disease for which researchers have been able to develop targeted treatments. Until now, all of these subsets have been based on either genetic mutations or gene rearrangements.
“What we’ve started to realize is that non-small cell lung cancer isn’t just one disease,” Dr. Camidge says. “Over the last 15 or so years, we’ve started to pull apart separate diseases within that umbrella. Now, there are at least eight different molecularly specific subtypes with an FDA-approved therapy.”
“Crizotinib in Patients With MET-Amplified NSCLC,” published in the June issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, introduces a third means of defining NSCLC subsets that can be targeted with a specific drug. Rather than a mutation or a gene rearrangement, this third category represents oncogene activation through gene amplification
“Unlike gene mutations or gene rearrangements, gene amplification is a continuous variable that’s why identifying gene amplification as a definable driver of NSCLC has been challenging.” says Dr. Camidge.
For this study, Dr. Camidge and the other investigators focused specifically on MET amplification. If MET amplification is a cancer driver in some patients, then it stood to reason that inhibiting MET could slow or stop the progression of NSCLC in those patients. Serving as one of the largest efforts to define the relevant diagnostic test for meaningful levels of MET gene amplification this study aims to prove that MET-inhibitor drugs are effective for treating patients with NSCLC driven by MET amplification.
“It has been a long and difficult course for this rare subtype of lung cancer, but I think this is fairly good proof that there are some patients where MET amplification alone is driving their cancer,” Dr. Camidge says.
Drug companies have begun to explore MET amplification as an additional target for new and existing MET inhibitors and it is Dr. Camidge's hope that the findings from this study will inform ongoing research and development to eventually help patients.