Plinabulin in addition to docetaxel is in clinical development for the treatment of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) as a second-line or greater therapy. NSCLC makes up the majority of lung cancers in the UK. Advanced/metastatic NSCLC is when the cancer has spread beyond the lung which was initially affected, most often to the liver, the adrenal glands, the bones, and the brain. Most patients with NSCLC are diagnosed at the stage where curative treatment with surgery is unsuitable. Current treatment options can be toxic which limits their use, a regimen with an improved safety profile would address this unmet need.
Plinabulin is an intravenously administered drug that binds to and affects the function of the protein tubulin within cells of the body. In certain cells of the immune system called Dendritic Cells (DCs) tubulin targeting with plinabulin activates a protein named GEF-H1 which boosts the ability of DCs to activate T-cells, which go on to kill cancer cells. These effects are thought to contribute towards the anti-cancer benefits of plinabulin. If licensed, plinabulin in addition to docetaxel will provide a new regimen for advanced NSCLC.