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Low-Fat Breakfasts Could Weaken Effect of a Key Lung Cancer Drug
  • Posted June 14, 2023

Low-Fat Breakfasts Could Weaken Effect of a Key Lung Cancer Drug

The lung cancer drug alectinib (Alecensa) is more potent when taken with a fuller breakfast, or lunch, than when taken with a low-fat breakfast, researchers report.

The Dutch team evaluated 20 patients who took one of two daily doses of alectinib with either low-fat yogurt alone, a full continental breakfast, or a lunch of their choosing. Low-fat yogurt resulted in 14% less exposure to the drug than a continental breakfast, and 20% less than lunch, the researchers found.

The report was published June 12 in the JNCCN, Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

"This is important information for patients, since we know that higher alectinib concentrations in blood could result in more efficacy of the drug, a longer treatment duration and therefore, hopefully, a better survival," said lead researcher Daan Lanser, from the Erasmus Cancer Institute at Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands.

"Sometimes, we hear that patients are advised to take their twice daily alectinib strictly 12 hours apart, with the result that some patients will take it with just a small snack in the morning or evening. We believe that taking it with a substantial meal containing enough fat is far more important for the absorption and efficacy of the treatment than to wait 12 hours between doses," Lanser said in a journal news release.

"This important study highlights the key role of diet on the efficacy of oral cancer drugs," said Dr. Sandip Patel, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

"Medication-diet interactions are just as important as medication-medication interactions for oral cancer treatments," said Patel, who was not involved in this research.

Alectinib is what's known as a small molecule kinase inhibitor. It's used to treat some types of advanced lung cancer. Maintaining therapeutic doses long-term is key to this drug's activity, Patel explained.

The findings of this study highlight "the need for education and dietary modification for patients taking these drugs long-term," he said in the release.

More information

For more on lung cancer, see the American Cancer Society.

SOURCE: Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, news release, June 12, 2023

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