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Data Published Identify The Folate Receptor As A Potential Biomarker For Targeted Therapies In A Majority Of Lung Cancers

- Results Show 72 Percent of Adenocarcinomas and 51 Percent of Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Lung Express Folate Receptor -

- Data Published in Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine -

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., Oct. 12, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Endocyte, Inc. (Nasdaq:ECYT), a biopharmaceutical company developing targeted small molecule drug conjugates (SMDCs) and companion imaging diagnostics for personalized therapy in cancer and other serious diseases, today announced the publication of data showing that 72 percent of adenocarcinomas and 51 percent of squamous cell carcinomas of the lung were positive for the folate receptor (FR). Currently validated targeted therapies are effective in only a small minority of lung cancers so the FR may be an important molecular target for future lung cancer therapies. The data are published online in the journal Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine .

"Lung cancer remains the number one cause of cancer death in the world, however only a limited percentage of lung cancers are candidates for targeted therapies based on EGFR mutation and ALK fusion genes, demonstrating the need for new targeted therapeutics," said Philip Low, Ph.D., chief scientific officer of Endocyte and co-author of the publication. "The high level of FR expression in lung cancer suggests that a large percentage of lung cancer patients might benefit from a FR-targeted therapy. Our use of the companion diagnostic imaging agent, etarfolatide, may allow us to select patients based on the expression of the FR immediately prior to therapy."

In the study, high-density tissue microarrays were immunostained for the FR and the immunopositivity was scored. The tissue microarrays constructed from archival formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded resection specimens from 117 patients with primary adenocarcinomas and 71 patients with squamous cell carcinomas of the lung, either stage I or stage II.

"Our etarfolatide companion diagnostic imaging research has also demonstrated that the FR is commonly present in adenocarcinomas, approximately 80 percent of patients have tested positive for the FR," said Binh Nguyen M.D., Ph.D., vice president of clinical affairs at Endocyte. "What is particularly exciting about this new research is the presence of the FR in squamous cell carcinomas where there is an even greater need for effective folate-targeted therapies."

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