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New drug for lung cancer irreversibly prevents the multiplication of cancer cells

New drug for lung cancer irreversibly prevents the multiplication of cancer cells

A new drug arrives in Brazil, approved by Anvisa, aimed at the treatment of a specific type of non-small cell lung cancer with an innovative mechanism of action: it irreversibly blocks (1) the multiplication of cancer cells and is capable of increasing survival by more than 12 months In addition, when compared to other currently available therapies, the drug reduces the disease progression by 27% and increases the objective response to treatment by 25% (3). ). The drug had already been approved in several locations, such as the United States, the European Union, Japan and Canada. Worldwide, and also in Brazil, lung cancer is the one that kills the most, accounting for more than 10% of cancer deaths. (4)


"The drug opens new perspectives for cancer patients with a mutation of the EGFR gene because it acts in an unprecedented and irreversible way in inhibiting the disease and is therefore a solid option for patients who seek a more effective treatment, "says oncologist Antonio Carlos Buzaid, general director of the Antônio Ermírio Oncology Center. Moraes, of the Beneficência Portuguesa de São Paulo, and member of the Management Committee of the Oncology Center of Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein.

The great differential of the drug in relation to the first-generation target therapies is the mechanism of action capable of inhibiting irreversibly (1) the entire family of cancer-causing (ErbB) receptors in patients who have EGFR mutation, blocking cell multiplication and disease progression.

This is possible because the drug was designed to bind covalently to ErbB family receptors and prevent its dimerization (which is the formation of a larger molecule from two smaller molecules, necessary for its action). The other target therapies available in the Brazilian market do not have this mechanism of action, allowing the drug to disconnect itself from the receptor and the cancer cells to multiply.

"The new therapeutic option, which is oral, is indicated as the first line of treatment for advanced and / or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (when cancer cells are already in the bloodstream or already in other organs) in patients who have a mutation that occurs around 24% of cases of adenocarcinoma, and that have not previously been treated with other types of targeted therapy or chemotherapy, "explains Antonio Carlos Buzaid.

Of the lung cancer types, the main ones are small cell and non-small cells, the latter of which corresponds to 85 to 90% of the cases (5), and is divided into: adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and large cell carcinoma. an option for late diagnosis bringing more time and maintenance of quality of life for the patient. "In the late diagnosis, the patient is already with locally advanced disease or with metastases, with almost no chance of cure, so we no longer speak of relapses." The new therapeutic option increases in more than 1 year the survival of the patient with a mutation specific of EGFR when compared to standard gold chemotherapy, "says the oncologist.

Causes and Prevention

Lifestyle directly influences the onset of lung cancer. The main cause is smoking, but it is not the only one. Radiation, pollution, sedentary lifestyle and even eating influence disease. The hereditary factor can also have an impact on the onset of lung cancer.

Therefore, constant concern with changing habits for a healthier routine is an efficient way to avoid the disease. It is important to emphasize that medical follow-up in case of family history is essential.


" Early symptoms of lung cancer may be similar to flu, but it does not seem to improve. Because it has common symptoms, diagnosis is often made in advanced stages of the disease, "says oncologist Antonio Carlos Buzaid.

The most common symptoms of lung cancer are:


chest pain

  • hoarseness
  • loss of appetite
  • shortness of breath
  • fatigue
  • cough with mucus expectoration
  • cough with sputum with blood and infections.
  • The diagnosis of lung cancer is made from tomography examinations and confirmed by biopsy of lung tissue. If the diagnosis of adenocarcinoma is confirmed, the most common type, the patient must perform a genetic test to identify the type of mutation present.

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