“About 3-5 percent of lung cancers are caused by changes in the gene ALK. In 2011, the FDA granted accelerated approval for the drug crizotinib to target these ALK changes. However, two major problems have remained: Crizotinib does not pass into the brain and so is unable to target ALK-positive lung cancer in the central nervous system, and the genetic diversity of cancer allows the later growth of subpopulations that can resist the drug, leading to renewed growth. In response, researchers have been actively developing next-generation ALK-inhibitors.
“Results of a multi-center, 222-person phase 2 clinical trial of the next-generation ALK inhibitor, brigatinib at 180mg/day, used after failure of crizotinib showed a 54 percent response rate and 12.9 month progression-free survival. (Effects were lower at a lower dose.) Results are published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.”
“The targeted therapy gefitinib appears more effective in preventing recurrence after lung cancer surgery than the standard of care, chemotherapy. In a phase III clinical trial, patients with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-positive, stage II-IIIA non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who received gefitinib went about 10 months longer without recurrence than patients who received chemotherapy. The study will be presented at the upcoming 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago.
” ‘Adjuvant gefitinib may ultimately be considered as an important option for stage II-IIIA lung cancer patients with an active EGFR mutation, and we may consider routine EGFR testing in this earlier stage of lung cancer,’ said lead study author Yi-Long Wu, MD, a director of the Guangdong Lung Cancer Institute, Guangdong General Hospital, Guangzhou, China. ‘We intend to follow these patients until we can fully measure overall survival as opposed to disease-free survival, which just measures disease recurrence.’ ”
“Wednesday evening brought with it the data dump on abstracts for the upcoming annual ASCO confab in Chicago in early June, and the big preliminary winner — not a big surprise — was Incyte, with a slate of new data points underscoring the potential of its leading, late-stage IDO1 drug epacadostat in combination with Merck’s Keytruda.
“Incyte shares $INCY swelled 9.5% in after-market trading as investors got a glimpse of things to come, with a 30%-plus response rate for a full slate of combination studies that are now pushing into Phase III development.”
“A team of researchers from Cleveland Clinic, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, and other clinical sites have demonstrated that a new blood test known as IsoPSA detects prostate cancer more precisely than current tests in two crucial measures — distinguishing cancer from benign conditions, and identifying patients with high-risk disease.
“By identifying molecular changes in the prostate specific antigen (PSA) protein, the findings, published online last month by European Urology, suggest that once validated, use of IsoPSA may substantially reduce the need for biopsy, and may thus lower the likelihood of overdetection and overtreatment of nonlethal prostate cancer.”
“Two new studies presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA) offer an improved understanding of some genetic underpinnings of prostate cancer. In one, researchers found that BRCA mutations may raise the risk of the malignancy substantially, while another found a high rate of mutations among other DNA repair genes as well.
” ‘These studies reveal new insights into the role genetic mutations play in the development of prostate cancer, particularly metastatic disease,’ said Scott Eggener, MD, of the University of Chicago Medicine, who moderated the session with these studies, in a press release.”
“Raylene Hollrah was 33, with a young daughter, when she learned she had breast cancer. She made a difficult decision, one she hoped would save her life: She had her breasts removed, underwent grueling chemotherapy and then had reconstructive surgery.
“In 2013, six years after her first diagnosis, cancer struck again — not breast cancer, but a rare malignancy of the immune system — caused by the implants used to rebuild her chest.”
“Seasonal influenza vaccination resulted in increased risk of immune-related adverse events (AEs) in lung cancer patients treated with PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors in a small study. However, the risks of the flu itself may still outweigh the risks associated with vaccination.
” ‘Use of immune checkpoint inhibitors is now standard clinical practice for many oncology patients, and these same patients—particularly those with lung cancer—also face increased risk for complications from influenza,’ said Sacha Rothschild, MD, PhD, of University Hospital Basel in Switzerland, in a press release. ‘Although routine influenza vaccination has long been recommended for cancer patients, there are concerns that it might trigger an exaggerated immune response in this subgroup receiving checkpoint inhibitors.’ ”
“U.S. health regulators approved expanding the use of Merck & Co.’s cancer drug Keytruda to include adding it to chemotherapy to treat lung cancer, broadening the drug’s potential market though evidence for the combination’s benefit is mixed.
“Keytruda, introduced in 2014, is one of a new wave of cancer drugs designed to work by harnessing the body’s own immune system to fight tumors. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved combining it with two chemotherapy agents, pemetrexed and carboplatin, to treat patients with an advanced form of lung cancer. Eli Lilly & Co. markets pemetrexed under the brand Alimta, and carboplatin is available generically.”
“Treatment advances for patients with neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) are bringing hope to a therapeutic landscape that has seen little activity until recent years, says Jonathan Strosberg, MD.
“In an interview with OncLive, Strosberg, medical oncologist, Department of Gastrointestinal Oncology, section head, Neuroendocrine Division, chair, Gastrointestinal Department Research Program, Moffitt Cancer Center, discussed recent developments and emerging agents in the field of NETs.”