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Is Immunotherapy advisable for lung cancer?

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Posted on Fri, 17 Jan 2014
Question: My son has Stage 4 Non Small Cell Lung Cancer, and is positive for the ALK gene mutation. He worked several days during high temperatures in my attic installing a sound system. I have a bad feeling that exposure to fiberglass insulation could have triggered his genetic mutation. And if so I wonder if he should be tested for mesothelial protein expression and possibly be a candidate for immune therapy. Thanks for any help!
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Answered by Dr. Indranil Ghosh (32 hours later)
Brief Answer: I don't think that exposure caused the mutation Detailed Answer: Hi Thanks for your query. I am sorry to know about your son. Alk mutation is found in 5% of lung cancer. However, there is no known specific offending agent which causes this mutation. Also, any cancer cell needs several mutations to turn into cancer, alk is only one of them. We are interested in alk as it can be targeted by a specific drug called crizotinib, which your son is probably getting or will get later. Immunotherapy is still not standard in lung cancer, it is being studied in trials. Please check if your son can be enrolled in one of such trials. Otherwise, doing mesothelial protein expresssion will not help. Hope I have answered your query. I will be available to answer further followup queries, if any. Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Dr. Indranil Ghosh

Oncologist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 1549 Questions

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Is Immunotherapy advisable for lung cancer?

Brief Answer: I don't think that exposure caused the mutation Detailed Answer: Hi Thanks for your query. I am sorry to know about your son. Alk mutation is found in 5% of lung cancer. However, there is no known specific offending agent which causes this mutation. Also, any cancer cell needs several mutations to turn into cancer, alk is only one of them. We are interested in alk as it can be targeted by a specific drug called crizotinib, which your son is probably getting or will get later. Immunotherapy is still not standard in lung cancer, it is being studied in trials. Please check if your son can be enrolled in one of such trials. Otherwise, doing mesothelial protein expresssion will not help. Hope I have answered your query. I will be available to answer further followup queries, if any. Regards