“A cost-effectiveness analysis found that 9 weeks of trastuzumab therapy is better than the more standard 12 months in patients with HER2-positive breast cancer, without loss of clinical efficacy. The analysis is limited, though, by the need to combine various trials rather than any head-to-head comparisons.
“Trastuzumab has been shown to significantly improve survival in women with HER2-positive disease. ‘The budget impact of trastuzumab is high, mostly due to the drug’s high cost, and the most serious adverse effect observed is cardiac dysfunction,’ wrote study authors led by Caroline Clarke, PhD, of University College London in the United Kingdom. Though 12 months is considered the standard duration of therapy, some studies have also found similar results with only 9 or 10 weeks of trastuzumab.”
“While regular exercise is recommended as part of a heart-healthy lifestyle for any person, it also appears to help mitigate the increased cardiovascular risk faced by women treated for breast cancer, according to a study scheduled for presentation at the American College of Cardiology’s 66th Annual Scientific Session.
“The study found that women with breast cancer who engaged in the equivalent of five hours of moderate exercise per week before their diagnosis were 40 percent less likely to have a cardiovascular event and 60 percent less likely to die from coronary heart disease compared to those with a low pre-diagnosis level of exercise. Researchers said this study is the first to examine the long-term impact of exercise before a cancer diagnosis and the cardiovascular benefits of exercise across all types of cancer treatments.”
“Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago have revealed new insight into how the most deadly pediatric brain tumor, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), may develop. They also have identified a compound that targets the ‘on’ switch for cancer-promoting genes, which resulted in shrinking tumor size and increased survival in an animal model of DIPG. Preparations for a clinical trial at Lurie Children’s are now under way.”
“The FDA approved telotristat ethyl tablets for use in combination with somatostatin analog therapy for the treatment of adults with carcinoid syndrome diarrhea.
“The approval is intended for patients with carcinoid syndrome — a rare and debilitating condition that affects people with carcinoid tumors and metastatic neuroendocrine tumors — that somatostatin analog therapy alone inadequately controlled. Carcinoid syndrome occurs in less than 10% of patients with carcinoid tumors. The tumors cause the excess release of the hormone serotonin, resulting in diarrhea, which in turn can lead to weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.”
“In a rigorous study of tumor tissue collected from 125 patients with aggressive brain cancers, researchers at Johns Hopkins say they have found no evidence of cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection and conclude that a link between the two diseases, as claimed by earlier reports, likely does not exist.
“The Johns Hopkins team cautioned that studies to confirm this finding are needed to absolutely rule out any role for the common CMV in glioblastoma and other cancers that arise in neurological support cells called glial cells. But they say their study substantially weakens the likelihood of that role.
” ‘We have found no evidence of CMV in these tissues, and if there is no virus, targeting that virus to affect cancer using antiviral drugs or tailored vaccines doesn’t make biological sense,’ says Angelo M. De Marzo, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pathology, oncology and urology at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.”
“In a phase II study reported at the 2017 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, the tyrosine kinase inhibitor cabozantinib (Cometriq) was evaluated in advanced carcinoid and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. Radiographic responses to therapy were observed in both tumor subtypes, and compared to other drugs historically used in this setting, progression-free survival data were encouraging, according to Jennifer A. Chan, MD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston.
“Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pathway inhibitors have shown activity in advanced neuroendocrine tumors. Recent studies have suggested that activation of the MET signaling pathway may also play a role in the growth of neuroendocrine tumors. Increased expression of MET correlates with decreased overall survival in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, Dr. Chan noted.”
“The FDA granted fast track designation to ImmunoPulse IL-12 for the treatment of metastatic melanoma that progressed during therapy with pembrolizumab or nivolumab.
“ImmunoPulse IL-12 (OncoSec Medical) is an intratumoral anticancer gene therapy that expresses interleukin-12 (IL-12).
“ ‘With the number of melanoma patients now being treated with either pembrolizumab (Keytruda, Merck) or nivolumab (Opdivo, Bristol Myers Squibb) in either the first- or second-line settings, there will be an increasing number of patients who will not respond to therapy,’ Punit Dhillon, president and CEO of OncoSec, said in a company-issued press release. ‘Thus, there is a clear need for treatments that can rescue these patients and help them benefit from these immunotherapies.’ ”