“Swiss drugmaker Novartis notched a trial win for its drug cocktail against skin cancer on Monday, while a rival treatment from Roche with slipping sales failed in a separate study with a similar patient group.
“All the medicines were tested in melanoma patients who had undergone surgery to cut out tumors and had a genetic mutation called BRAF, making them likely to respond to the targeted cancer pills. Patients with BRAF mutations constitute around half of the melanoma population.”
“In a head-to-head comparison of two immunotherapy drugs used to prevent relapse in certain patients with advanced melanoma, one treatment was the clear winner — and it’s not the one that most people get.
“The international study, released Sunday, involved 900 patients whose tumors were removed by surgery but who remained at high risk of recurrence of melanoma, an often aggressive form of skin cancer.”
“Patients with high risk prostate cancer starting long-term hormone therapy may benefit from two new treatments, according to late-breaking results from the STAMPEDE trial presented at the ESMO 2017 Congress in Madrid.
“Long-term hormone therapy alone has been the standard of care for patients with high risk locally advanced or metastatic prostate cancer since the 1940s.”
“Adding taselisib to letrozole before surgery significantly improved outcomes for patients with early breast cancer that was both estrogen receptor positive and HER2-negative (ER+/HER2-) according to results of the LORELEI trial, presented at the ESMO 2017 Congress in Madrid.
” ‘We were able to detect a reduction in tumor size after only 16 weeks of treatment, compared to patients who received letrozole plus placebo,’ said study investigator Dr. Cristina Saura, from Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona, Spain. ‘Any decrease in tumor measurements is something positive for patients because this means the drug has had activity against their tumor in a short period of time.’ ”
“Scientists are stepping up the hunt for better diagnostic tests to predict if cancer patients will benefit from costly modern immunotherapy drugs, which are transforming cancer care but remain a hit-and-miss affair.
“Research presented at Europe’s biggest oncology congress in Madrid adds to evidence that patients with an above average number of genetic mutations in their tumors have a better chance of responding to the new treatments, and drugmakers are racing to confirm the idea.”
“Merck’s abstract $MRK on its big study of Keytruda (pembrolizumab) combined with chemo hit early at ESMO, attracting considerable attention for the impressive progression-free survival data the pharma giant posted as a frontline therapy for non-small cell lung cancer.
“The scoop: The median PFS hit 19 months for the combo arm compared to 8.9 months for chemo alone. The 18-month overall survival rate was 70% with pembro + chemo and 56% with chemo. That was an easy winner at the FDA and the new mark to beat in the hottest competition in drug development.”
“Adding the IDO inhibitor indoximod to pembrolizumab (Keytruda) led to an overall response rate (ORR) of 61% in patients with advanced melanoma, according to updated phase II data scheduled to be presented at the Third International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference in Frankfurt/Mainz, Germany.
“The updated data include a higher complete response (CR) rate of 20% compared with the 12% CR rate previously reported at the 2017 AACR Annual Meeting.1 The median progression-free survival (PFS) with the combination was 12.9 months, with a 1-year PFS rate of 56%.”
“Immunotherapy is a promising approach in the treatment of metastatic melanoma, an aggressive and deadly form of skin cancer; but for most patients, immunotherapy drugs so far have failed to live up to their promise and provide little or no benefit. In a phase 1b clinical trial with 21 patients, researchers tested the safety and efficacy of combining the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab with an oncolytic virus called T-VEC. The results suggest that this combination treatment, which had a 62% response rate, may work better than using either therapy on its own. The study appears September 7 in the journal Cell.”
“The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2017 Congress is just around the corner, and we can already say with confidence that there will be many provocative presentations, including several that are poised to change practice. At this point, we can only rely on the abstracts and press releases for several of these, but here are my early impressions on the top five presentations in lung cancer for ESMO 2017.”