Sep. 1, 2014

New NCI Trials Open at Winship with Focus on Lung Cancer

The ALCHEMIST Lung Cancer Trials

Winship Cancer Institute will participate in three new clinical trials collectively known as the Adjuvant Lung Cancer Enrichment Marker Identification and Sequencing Trials (ALCHEMIST). Suresh Ramalingam, MD, professor of hematology and medical oncology, will serve as the site Principal Investigator for Winship. These trials aim to identify early-stage lung cancer patients with tumors that harbor certain uncommon genetic changes and evaluate whether drug treatments targeted against those molecular changes can lead to improved survival. For those without the genetic changes, their tumors will be collected and assayed extensively using genetic testing to hopefully better understand determinants of causation, prognosis, and treatment.

Winship is part of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) which is conducting new precision medicine trials like ALCHEMIST that test targeted treatments for smaller subsets of cancers. The first NCTN precision medicine trial, Lung-MAP, was launched in June.

ALCHEMIST is supported by NCI with leadership and coordination of the component trials by the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology and the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group. All of the NCI-supported NCTN groups have collaborated in the development of ALCHEMIST and are participating in the component trials. For more information about ALCHEMIST, visit

Protocol No. RTOG1306

A new phase II clinical trial has opened at Winship to study how well erlotinib hydrochloride or crizotinib and chemoradiation therapy works in treating patients with stage III non-small cell lung cancer. Kristin Higgins, MD, assistant professor of radiation oncology, will serve as the site Principal Investigator for Winship.

Drugs used in chemotherapy, such as cisplatin, etoposide, paclitaxel, and carboplatin, work in different ways to stop the growth of tumor cells, either by killing the cells, by stopping them from dividing, or by stopping them from spreading. It is not yet known whether giving erlotinib hydrochloride is more effective than crizotinib with chemoradiation therapy in treating patients with non-small cell lung cancer. The study will evaluate these treatment combinations and determine if clinical outcomes correlate with molecular characteristics of individual tumors.

Choosing to participate in a clinical trial is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a trial. To learn more about these and other trials available at Winship, you or your doctor may contact (404) 778-1900 or visit

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