Vitamin D and Fish Oils Are Ineffective for Preventing Cancer and Heart Disease

Excerpt:

“In recent years, many Americans have embraced vitamin D and fish oil pills, their enthusiasm fueled by a steady trickle of suggestive research studies linking higher levels of vitamin D with lower rates of cancer and other ills, and fish consumption with reduced heart disease.

“Now a large and rigorous government-funded randomized trial — the only such study of omega-3 fish oils ever carried out in healthy adults, and the largest trial ever done of high-dose vitamin D — has found the supplements do not lower cancer rates in healthy adults. Nor do they reduce the rate of major cardiovascular events, a composite of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from cardiovascular disease. The trial is of the kind considered the gold standard in medicine.”

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FDA Approves Lorlatinib for Second- or Third-Line Treatment of ALK-Positive Metastatic NSCLC

Excerpt:

“On November 2, 2018, the Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval to lorlatinib (LORBRENA, Pfizer, Inc.) for patients with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose disease has progressed on crizotinib and at least one other ALK inhibitor for metastatic disease or whose disease has progressed on alectinib or ceritinib as the first ALK inhibitor therapy for metastatic disease.

“Approval was based on a subgroup of 215 patients with ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC, previously treated with one or more ALK kinase inhibitors, enrolled in a non‑randomized, dose-ranging and activity-estimating, multi‑cohort, multicenter study (Study B7461001; NCT01970865). The major efficacy measures were overall response rate (ORR) and intracranial ORR, according to RECIST 1.1, as assessed by an independent central review committee.”

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Pembrolizumab Regimen Receives FDA Approval for Frontline Treatment of Squamous NSCLC

Excerpt:

“Based on findings from the phase III KEYNOTE-407 trial, pembrolizumab (Keytruda) has been approved by the FDA for use in combination with carboplatin and either paclitaxel or nab-paclitaxel (Abraxane) for the frontline treatment of patients with metastatic squamous non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

“Results from the trial showed combining pembrolizumab with chemotherapy reduced the risk of death by 36% compared with chemotherapy alone in patients with metastatic squamous NSCLC. The median overall survival (OS) was 15.9 months (95% CI, 13.2 – not evaluable) with pembrolizumab versus 11.3 months (95% CI, 9.5-14.8) with chemotherapy alone (HR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.49-0.85; P = .0017). The OS benefit was observed regardless of PD-L1 expression level, choice of taxane, age, sex, and ECOG performance status.”

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Aggressive RT, Surgery Doubles OS in NSCLC With Limited Mets

Excerpt:

“Aggressive local consolidation in stage IV non-small lung cancer (NSCLC) drastically improved overall survival over standard care in patients with up to three metastatic lesions, a small randomized study found.

“Among 49 patients whose disease had not progressed after initial systemic therapy, overall survival was 41.2 months in those treated with radiotherapy or surgery compared with 17.0 months in those on standard maintenance therapy (P=0.017), reported Daniel Gomez, MD, of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, at a press briefing here at the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) meeting.”

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Novartis Drug Cut Death Risk by 35 Percent in Gene Mutation Breast Cancer

Excerpt:

“An experimental cancer drug that Novartis hopes will raise the profile of its oncology portfolio cut the risk of death or disease progression by more than a third in breast cancer patients with a hard-to-target gene mutation.

“The Swiss drugmaker’s BYL719, a so-called PI3K inhibitor also known as alpelisib, combined with hormone therapy fulvestrant boosted median progression-free survival (PFS) to 11 months, up from 5.7 months for patients who got only hormone therapy, the company said on Saturday.”

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Liquid Biopsy Shows Promise for Monitoring Childhood Brain Tumors

Excerpt:

“New research by investigators at the University of California, San Francisco and the Children’s National Health System, has provided early evidence that liquid biopsy testing could help doctors monitor how well treatments are working in kids with diffuse midline gliomas.

“Brain cancers present a challenge for longitudinal monitoring, because obtaining repeat biopsy samples is dangerous and difficult. But liquid biopsy techniques have now opened the possibility of tracking these and other tumors over time based on analysis of tumor genetic material that is shed into the blood or other body fluids.”

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Brain Cancer Survival Has Improved – But Not Much for Elderly

A new study from Helsinki University Hospital, University of Helsinki and the Finnish Cancer Registry shows that survival after glioblastoma has improved since the millennium. The improvement in survival was, however, modest in elderly patients, raising concerns whether current treatment strategies are optimal for this patient group.

“Glioblastoma is the most common brain , and one of the deadliest cancers known. Unfortunately, there is no cure for these rapidly progressing tumors.”

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Prostatectomy Plus Radiotherapy May Improve Survival in Advanced Prostate Cancer

Excerpt:

“Patients who underwent primary radical prostatectomy followed by radiotherapy for locally or regionally advanced prostate cancer had better survival outcomes than patients treated with radiotherapy plus androgen deprivation therapy, according to findings from a population-based, retrospective study published in Cancer.

” ‘There is a lot of debate about whether to remove the whole prostate and follow-up with radiation therapy or, as a second option, spare the prostate and treat it using radiation therapy plus hormone-blocking therapy,’ Grace Lu-Yao, PhD, associate director of population science at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health, said in a press release. ‘Our study suggests that removing the prostate followed by adjuvant radiotherapy is associated with greater OS in men with prostate cancer.’ ”

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FDA Approves Talazoparib for gBRCAm HER2-Negative Locally Advanced or Metastatic Breast Cancer

Excerpt:

“On October 16, 2018, the Food and Drug Administration approved talazoparib (TALZENNA, Pfizer Inc.), a poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor, for patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious germline BRCA-mutated (gBRCAm), HER2‑negative locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer. Patients must be selected for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic for talazoparib.

“Approval was based on EMBRACA (NCT01945775), an open‑label trial randomizing 431 patients (2:1) with gBRCAm HER2‑negative locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer to receive talazoparib (1 mg) or physician’s choice of chemotherapy (capecitabine, eribulin, gemcitabine, or vinorelbine). All patients were required to have a known deleterious or suspected deleterious gBRCA mutation and must have received no more than 3 prior cytotoxic chemotherapy regimens for locally advanced or metastatic disease. Patients were required to have received treatment with an anthracycline and/or a taxane (unless contraindicated) in the neoadjuvant, adjuvant, and/or metastatic treatment setting.”

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