Therapeutic Effects of Repurposed Therapies in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: What Is Old Is New Again
: The recent emergence of targeted and immunotherapeutic agents has dramatically changed the management for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Despite these advances, lung cancer is not exempt from the challenges facing oncology drug development, including the huge financial cost and the time required for drug implementation. Repositioning noncancer therapies with potential antineoplastic properties into new therapeutic niches is an alternative treatment strategy offering the possibility of saving money and time and improving outcomes. The goal of such a strategy is to deliver an effective drug with a favorable toxicity profile at a reduced cost. Preclinical models and observational data have demonstrated promising activity for many of these agents, and they are now being studied in prospective trials. We review the relevant published data regarding the therapeutic effects of metformin, statins, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, beta-blockers, and itraconazole in NSCLC, with a focus on the putative mechanisms of action and clinical data. As these drugs are increasingly being tested in clinical trials, we aim to highlight the salient challenges and future strategies to optimize this approach. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: The staggering failure rates, exorbitant costs, and lengthy approval process associated with drug development in lung cancer warrants exploration of alternative strategies. The repositioning of approved noncancer medications to treat non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) represents a unique opportunity to improve outcomes by delivering an effective drug at lower costs with manageable toxicity. Several such agents have demonstrated antineoplastic activity and are being studied in NSCLC patient populations. The present review highlights the relevant literature regarding these agents' therapeutic effects and reports on the challenges in implementing this strategy moving forward, including a discussion of ongoing phase I, II, and III trials.