Researchers have discovered a mutation in DDR2 gene that helps to identify which patients with squamous cell lung cancer will respond to a leukemia drug called dasatinib.
According to lead researcher Matthew Meyerson, professor of pathology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, there are currently no targeted therapies for squamous cell lung cancer.
Using standard genetic sequencing techniques, Meyerson and colleagues identified mutations in the DDR2 kinase gene in about 3 percent of squamous cell lung cancers and cell lines.
Furthermore, they found that tumor cells with these DDR2 mutations responded to treatment with dasatinib.
A patient whose cancer carried a DDR2 mutation also showed a clinical response to dasatinib.
"Dasatinib is an existing therapy for chronic myelogenous leukemia with a long history and a strong safety profile," said Meyerson.
"The results of this study clearly encourage a clinical trial to test dasatinib in the setting of squamous cell lung cancer," he added.
The findings are published in Cancer Discovery.