A narrow viewing tube is placed into the lungs to obtain a small biopsy of lung tissue. The sample is sent to a laboratory to rule out lung cancer and look for the presence of premalignant lesions. Those who are found to have abnormal lung cells are randomly assigned to receive either the iloprost or a placebo for six months. Patients will then be monitored and followed with second biopsy at the end of six months.
Doctors hope those who receive iloprost will show a reversal of some of the premalignant changes in the lung tissue. Researchers will also examine whether iloprost has any effect on markers associated with lung cancer. Iloprost is currently approved in an inhaled form for treatment of pulmonary hypertension (increased blood pressure in the pulmonary artery. In this study, iloprost is given in oral form.