Week 93: recovering, astonishing alectinib and curious cashews

Written by Lars Haakon Soraas

Week 93 in the war on lung cancer has passed. Here are highlights:

  • Dyanne has gradually been getting better from the shortness of breath and virus infection (which turned out to be “para influenca”). However, she has still been quite tired and last night had a bit of “wheezing” when breathing. One dose of Ventoline (asthma medicine) and it was much better.

ASCO, the largest cancer conference in the world, is currently taking place in Chicago. Lots of cancer research being presented and some good and promising news for lung cancer patients. One of the most impressive results for lung cancer patients was from a trial comparing crizotinib and alectinib in ALK positive lung cancer. The latter is a new drug and it gave patients 26 months of “progression free survival” which was more than twice as good as crizotinib which gave patients only 10 months of “progression free survival”. Following the presentation of these results, it is now widely expected that alectinib will become the new standard first line therapy for ALK positive lung cancer patients. Hence, if you are diagnosed with ALK positive lung cancer from today onwards, you should insist that the drug you want is alectinib and not crizotinib. Expect Norway’s health care system to spend months contemplating whether to make the switch (to save a bit of money) and let dozens of Norwegian lung cancer patients suffer as a result.

Another interesting finding that has emerged from ASCO is that patients who eat cashew nuts seem to respond better to immunotherapy than those who do not. Coincidence? Perhaps. Until they find out for sure, having some cheap cashews with your expensive immunotherapy may be a good choice.

Have a good Monday everyone!

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